'We are trying to ensure 14 feet of depth by maintenance dredging'
Dredging around the Barisal river port area improved the navigation for river transportation in the region.
Transportation on major routes in Barisal were on the verge of shutting down because of the inconvenient commute due to formation of new sandbanks (Dubo Char) and shallow water levels in rivers ahead of the upcoming dry winter season, said Abdus Sobhan, a water transport worker.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) started maintenance dredging at about thirty points selected across rivers starting from November 4 to mitigate the navigability crisis.
However, the water transport crews stressed the importance of capital dredging alongside maintenance dredging to remedy the poor water flow from upstream which causes severe navigability crisis in the regional river routes.
"We are trying to ensure 14 feet of depth by maintenance dredging. We will avoid further dredging, as it may result in rapid erosion and other problems regarding navigability," said Mizanur Rahman Bhuiyan, the superintending engineer of dredging department of BIWTA.
This year’s flash floods in the northern parts carried significant amounts of silt and sediments downstream and deposited them in the southern parts of the country, he added.
Regarding the dredging process, Mizanur said seven dredging machines have been mobilized at different points around Barisal while three more would be added to the fleet soon.
About 30 lakh cubic metres of sediments would be dredged from Barisal regional rivers including one lakh cubic metres from Barisal river port area, he added.
BIWTA is planning to undertake excavation projects to make the river flow straight as river bends facilitate sedimentation, said Ajmal Huda Mithu, deputy director of marine safety and river traffic officer of Barisal River Port.
Ajmal instructed people to contact the BIWTA, who wish to use the dredged sediments for free to fill their lowlands.