Chattogram, Mar 2 (UNB) – The re-excavation works on 16 canals of the port city, including Chaktai Khal, are progressing fast, aiming to bring relief to the city dwellers from its vexing waterlogging problem.
The government undertook a mega project titled ‘’Canal re-excavation, renovation and expansion to eradicate water logging of Chattogram” worth Tk 5,616 crore on August 9, 2017 to end the longstanding waterlogging problem in the city.
Under the project, the implementing agency will re-excavate 36 canals of Chattogram city, construct drains nearby to remove rainwater, acquire 96 acres of land, and construct 176,000 metres of retain wall, 85.68 km of road, 48 PC bridges and 6 culverts.
The works of the project of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) are underway under the supervision of the Bangladesh Army. The project is expected to complete on June 30, 2020 as its works started in July 2017.
Though there was a target to re-excavate of 36 canals, primarily the re-excavation of 16 canals, including the Chaktai and Mahesh khals (canals) is underway.
The 16 canals are- Chaktai Khal, BirzaKhal, Rajakhali Khal-1, Rajakhali Khal-2, Rajakhali Khal-3, Mirza Khal, Hijra Khal, Mahesh khal, Mariambibi Khal, Kolabagicha Khal, Domkhal, Chaktai Diverson Khal (also known as Baklia Khal), Bamunshahi Khal, Noakhal, Nasir Khal and Khandakia Khal.
According to the engineering department of Chattogram City Corporation, there are a total of 57 canals in the city with their total length of 163.50km. Among them, the longest canal is Khandokio as it is 8.4 km long while the second longest canal is 7.5 km Rajakhali. The length of Chaktai and Mahesh Khal which are very important for the city’s drainage system is 6km and 6.3km respectively.
Contacted, CDA Chairman Abdus Salam said, “We cannot assure the city dwellers that we’ll be able to give them the full relief from waterlogging crisis in the upcoming monsoon, but we hope there’ll be a positive result.”
In the last monsoon, he said, city dwellers experienced serious waterlogging in Halisahar, Agrabad, Chaktai, Khatunganj, Dewanbazar, Sub Area, greater Bakalia, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, Shulokbahar, Boddarhat, GEC intersection and Probortok intersection areas. Once the re-excavation work on the 16 canals is completed, the residents of those areas will get relief to some extent, he added.
The chairman said RCC retention walls on both sides of those canals will be constructed at a cost of Tk 2,640 crore to make sure those are not grabbed after the renovation.
Besides, a total of 38 bridges and culverts on the canals will be re-constructed which will cost Tk 339.55 crore. Three water reservoirs will also be built.
Apart from that, 300 kms of drain will be renovated so that water can easily move to the canals in addition to constructing 100 kms of new drain.
Brigadier General Rezaul Mazid, director general of 34 engineering construction brigade, and duty-officer of Army for canal re-excavation work, said the works are going on in full swing and it will be possible to keep waterlogging at a tolerable level from the next monsoon, he said.
Lt Col Mohiuddin Ahmed, the chief engineer of city corporation, said water-logging problem will not be solved only by renovating Chaktai and Mahesh canals. “People also need to ensure that they will not throw garbage into the canals.”
Mohiuddin said spot-based solution is needed at GEC, Muradpur and Bahaddarhat intersection to end the waterlogging problem. Eviction of the illegal establishments from both sides of the canals has started, he said adding that there will be positive results from the next monsoon.
According to urban experts, re-excavation of canals will not bring any permanent solution to the waterlogging problem. The encroachment of Chatkai Khal and the navigability problem of the Karnaphuli River also contribute to the problem.
They emphasised coordinated works among Army, CDA, Chattogram City Corporation (CCC), Wasa, PDB, Karnaphuli Gas Authority, public representatives and local people for permanent solution to the crisis.