Coastal super driveway

In the making

The government has decided to build a coastal super driveway from Cox’s Bazar to Satkhira.

The construction of the driveway along with four embankments, worth Tk 8,000 crore, will begin soon, official sources said.

They said the mega project, first of its kind in Bangladesh, aims to protect the lives and property of people in the coastal areas of the country’s southwestern part from tidal surges, cyclones and other natural calamities.

The sources said the government is considering formation of a coastal development board like the Haor (Wetlands) Development Board to address the problems in the coastal areas.

Officials at the water resources ministry said about 50 million people in 25 coastal districts remain at risk as about one-third of the country's embankments has been damaged severely.

They said the long-lasting embankments will be based on the existing dykes and super driveway will run along them.

According to the Water Development Board, there are about 17,000 kilometers of embankments in the country and 5,757 kilometers of the dykes in the coastal region are at severe risk.

They said new plans will also be taken for maintenance following construction of the dykes. Four projects have been formulated for this purpose. Work on the projects will start very soon and be completed in the next two to three years. 

The ministry officials said that under these projects, Tk 957.38 crore will be spent for Polder No. 14 in Khulna, Tk 1,201.12 crore for Polder No. 31, Tk 3,674.03 crore for Polder No. 5 in Satkhira and Tk 997.78 crore for Polder No. 15.

Talking about these mega projects, Deputy Minister for Water Resources AKM Enamul Haque Shamim said four projects worth Tk 8,000 crore have been undertaken at the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to construct long-lasting embankments in coastal areas.

He said there is a plan to build a super driveway from Cox's Bazar to Satkhira to protect the embankments and the Sundarbans. 

“[After the implementation of the projects,] crisis of drinking water will be resolved in the coastal areas, he said.

Lawmaker Akhteruzzaman Babu of Khulna-6 constituency said the cyclone-affected people in coastal areas do not want relief, they want construction of embankments.

He stressed the need for arranging emergency funds and engaging local governments for maintenance of the embankments.

Many people of the country’s southwestern part, mainly of the coast areas, urged the government to enforce a ban on making shrimp or crab enclosures within 100 meters of the embankments and take effective steps to ensure safe drinking water for the coastal people.

They alleged huge irregularities in implementing different projects undertaken to repair the damaged embankments in coastal areas.