Rivers around Dhaka to get back water flow

Rajuk signs MoU with China

Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) in association with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) will bring the natural water flow back to the rivers surrounding capital Dhaka. In this regard on Wednesday a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Rajuk and CRBC at hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon in the city.

Turag New City Project is located at the boundary of west side of the central urban area in Dhaka and covers an area of 9,116.73 acres. The Project is shaped like a strip with low terrain generally and presently located at the flood flow area in Dhaka. And about 80% is covered by land area in a dry season and almost 100% by water area in the rainy season (from July to October).    

The purposes of planning mainly include: projecting the flood area of Turag River in western Dhaka City; maintaining urban ecology; rationally utilizing the flood area; developing an ecologically balanced green city and developing waterborne recreational facilities. Other purposes are to Conserve flood flow zone of Turag River in the western part of Dhaka, to maintain urban ecosystem by proper delighting flood flow zone, to develop ecological livable city, to develop eco-friendly green township and to develop water based recreational facility within the protected area.     

Dhaka city is surrounded by five rivers -- Balu and Sitalakhya on the east side, Turag on the north and west sides, and Buriganga on the south. “We want to free the rivers surrounding capital Dhaka from pollution and grabbing as well. Besides, we will also work to bring the natural water flow and ecological balance back to the rivers,” Tofazzal Hossain, an official of Rajuk said. 

He said most of the rivers are badly polluted by different industrial and household wastes. “Dhaka would be an abandoned city in the future unless immediate steps are taken to check ongoing rampant water pollution and river-grabbing around the capital. Rajuk and CRBC will work together to protect the rivers in order to make the city a livable one,” the official said. 

The city’s most of the canals, water bodies, rivers and lowlands were grabbed destroying the natural water drainage system. The experts said despite having five rivers surrounding it, capital Dhaka has virtually remained ungoverned when it comes to basic urban and environmental issues.

According to the experts, small urban rivers may help a city in many ways – providing support for waterways, flushing out rainwaters and offering recreational facilities and economic benefits—but Dhaka has long been only polluting these rivers and the entire environment. Apart from river grabbing, they said untreated chemical and solid wastes have been dumped in the Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakshya Rivers, destroying the ecosystem of the rivers.

If the current trend of water pollution continues, Dhaka will turn into an unlivable city within the next 20 years for lack of freshwater. Housing and Public Works Minister S M Rezaul Karim said, “The goal of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is to ensure sustainable development. We have adopted the Delta Plan for one hundred years. Not just for today, we planning for a hundred years."

Sun Yoguo, chief engineer of China Road and Bridge Corporation, also spoke. Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works Mohammad Shahid Ullah Khandaker said China is one of the most important development partners of Bangladesh. The CRBC is also making investment in other projects in Bangladesh besides the negotiated project.

Rajuk chairman Dr Sultan Ahmed said, “About 70 percent of the land in the Turag Township project will be reserved for aquaculture and ecosystem and only 30 percent will be used for the township. The project will be carried out in line with the implementation of DAP.”

Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), China Road and Bridge Corporation will, under its own financing, conduct a feasibility assessment and environmental survey work within a year. China Road and Bridge Corporation has expressed its interest in investing in the above mentioned projects after feasibility assessment and environmental survey work.

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