Posted on February 5, 2024
Dredging operations have resumed in the naval channel of inner bar of Mongla port after two years as the complexity of dredging sand or silt soil has been cleared.
On Friday morning, the Port Authority started the operation through the bulkhead dredger under Section-4. The dredging of the inner bar was stopped for about two years when complications occurred in the previously dredged sand storage area.
Mongla Port Authority Chairman Rear Admiral Shaheen Rahman confirmed the information.
Rear Admiral Shaheen Rahman said: “The dredging of the inner bar, which began on March 13, 2021, was closed midway when there was a lack of storage space. However, the dredging operation has started from Friday as the place to store the excavated silt has been determined. The soil of this dredging is being kept in Jayamoni area.”
Commander Russel Ahmed Khan, chief hydrographer of Mongla Port Authority, said: “Although the dredging in the inner bar was stopped, the navigable channel was normal. There was no problem with shipping. However, if the regular dredging activities are not continued, there will be a risk to commercial shipping in the future. For this purpose, the dredging process was started from Friday with the decision to dump soil at the old place in Jayamoni. Earlier, before the start of this dredging operation, a survey was done to see how much silt has accumulated. After completing that survey, the dredging was started.”
However, dismissing the fear that this dredging activity will be stopped in the future, he said that Mongla Port Authority along with the state minister of Shipping and the secretary are trying to keep dredging activities going on in this channel.
According to Mongla Port Authority sources, the area from Harbaria area of Pasur Nadar (Navy Channel) of Mongla Port to Port Jetty is called “inner bar”. Capital dredging was inaugurated on March 13, 2021 in an area of 23.4km of the inner bar. The dredging operation started on April 10 of that year. At that time, the cost of the project was estimated at Tk793 crores.
A total of 700 acres of land in Mongla upazila and 300 acres of land in Banishanta area of Dakop upazila of Khulna were seized for dumping dredged sand. Sand was dumped on the land of Jayamoni area of Chila Union of Mongla upazila. But local residents and various organizations protested to stop dumping of sand in the three crop fields of Banishanta, Khulna, next to Pasur river. In the face of their objection, the port authority decided to stop dumping sand and soil there. Since then, dredging has been stopped for almost two years.
In this situation, a preliminary decision has been taken to dump sand on 262 acres of land in Shanbandha Mauza of Burirdanga Union of Mongla upazila. A proposal in this regard was sent to the Bagerhat deputy commissioner’s office and from there it was sent to the land ministry.
Meanwhile, the project is due to expire in June 2022. 34% of the work has been completed so far. The project cost has increased to Tk992 crore due to not being able to complete the work on time, which was approved in the Ecnec meeting on April 4 last year.
Mongla Port Authority Chief Engineer (Civil and Hydraulics) Sheikh Shaukat Ali said the depth of the inner bar is five and a half to six meters. It is supposed to be eight and a half meters by dredging. About 70% of the sediment removed from the dredging sites has re-deposited in the last two years. In this situation, the duration of the dredging project has been extended till June 2024.
He also said that since the dredging work has stopped, the silt has increased so far. Apart from this, the cost of the project increased due to the increase in the price of dredger oil and other items. As no new place is available, the old place is currently being sanded in Jayamoni area. Initially under section-4 the bulkhead is being cut by dredger and lifted to another bulkhead. Later it is being moved elsewhere.