Posted on August 23, 2023
Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha on Saturday commissioned a “first of its kind” cutter head dredge at Little Diamond, East Bank of Demerara.
The dredge was procured by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) at a cost of $497,464,600 and will be used to desilt outfall channels and improve drainage systems across the country.
In his address at the commissioning ceremony, Mustapha said that the equipment is a testament to the government’s commitment to delivering quality services through state-of-the-art equipment to residents and farmers across the country.
“This cutter head dredge will not only improve the drainage in the residential area, it will also contribute tremendously to production in the farming communities. We have hundreds of outfalls around the country and this piece of equipment will help us to clear those outfalls easily. Based on the specifications, we will now take about two weeks to clear an outfall where as it would usually take four weeks or more. Not only will the residential areas benefit, but the farming communities will also benefit.
Agriculture is now the bedrock of our country. As a government, our vision is to develop this sector,” Minister Mustapha explained.
Meanwhile Chairman of the NDIA, Lionel Wordsworth noted that although the idea of acquiring a cutter head dredge was conceptualized some time back, it was only in 2021 that the government approved funds for it to be procured.
“This project was conceptualized a while ago but in 2021 we got our approved budget to move forward. It later went out for public tendering and through a competitive bidding process, a contract was later awarded. I’m happy to say that the entire design, supervision, fabrication, and putting together of equipment was done by Guyanese engineers and staff. This piece of equipment is the first of its kind for NDIA whereby it’s a self-propelled vessel equipped with the component to do the dredging. This will allow us to be more responsive to address the concerns of dredging outfall channels,” he explained.
The dredge is outfitted with a global positioning system (GPS), life-saving and fire-protection equipment, propulsion and steering systems, and operating equipment which includes two excavators, a cutter head and engine, a generator, living quarters for nine operators, etc.
The cutter head was designed to be fitted on a short-reach excavator, which increases the mobility of the equipment, allowing it to have a wider range of operations as well as increased efficiency of the cutter head while excavating material.
Back in May 2021, the NDIA signed a contract with S. Jagmohan Hardware Supplies for the supply of the cutter head dredge. At the time, Minister Mustapha said the products that were to be provided were seen as critical.