A nine-kilometre river embankment and three under-construction water regulators would save thousands of inhabitants of the coastal town of Mongla from recurrent tidal surge by the end of this year, said the local mayor and officials concerned.
The embankment along with a marine drive and the sluice gates on three canals flowing through Mongla town would end the long-standing problem of inundation as well as giving an immense boost to the local economy, said Zulfikar Ali, Mongla municipality mayor.
The construction works are being carried out under a $201 million City Region Development Project (CRDP) initiated by the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) and jointly funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Swedish Sida, and German KFW.
“The embankment, which is built 3.6 metres above sea level as flood barrier and water regulator sluice gates with improved storm drainage facilities under the CRDP, would resolve a three-decade old inundation problem in Mongla municipality,” said the mayor.
The coastal town would experience inundation during high tide in the months of June, July and August, he said.
A marine drive along the embankment would help around 60,000 labourers of adjoining and remote villages with a direct access to the sea port, special economic zone, export processing zone and various industries, said Zulfikar.
Besides, tourists coming to the port town as well as locals would have fascinating recreational facilities with walkways and benches all along the river bank, the mayor said, adding that the area would come under enhanced security coverage.
Along the embankment, a 10-km internal road was being improved with climate-resilient, reinforced concrete casting, said Hamidul Hoque, LGED executive engineer and deputy director of the project.
Trees would be planted on both sides of the 24-foot wide marine drive, he said.
The existing storm drainage system along the 10-km road was being improved so as to utilise it as outfalls for discharging waste and storm water of the municipal area into the canals.
Besides, dredging of 28km canals crisscrossing Khulna city and repair of flood control structures along the city were going on under the CRDP scheme, which would benefit around five lakh people in Khulna city, said Project Director Ahsan Habib.
A 2.25-km embankment with concrete casting driveway along the Bhairab river in Khulna city is also being developed under the scheme. This would protect the city from flooding. Also, trees would be planted along the embankment.
“Climate resilient cement uniblock concrete has been used instead of traditional bricks to build the embankment driveway, leaving enough space for planting trees,” the PD said, adding that recreational facilities along these embankments were also integral parts of the scheme.
Concrete casting and cement casting concrete blocks are more durable and climate resilient, said Ahsan. Bituminous road is vulnerable to rainwater and inundation. Besides, it causes enormous carbon emission when bricks and bitumen, which is an expensive imported material, are burned, he added.
Three-fourths of the work of the Mongla component has been done so far, said Ahsan. Of the total project cost, Tk 76 crore would be required for the Mongla project.
The ADB provided $120 million as soft loan for the implementation of the CRDP project.
Oleg Tonkonojenkov, deputy country director of ADB, said they would promote climate resilient and green development design as an overarching theme.
The CRDP project, which started in 2011 and is scheduled to be complete by 2016, aims at climate resilient waste management, drainage, water supply and sanitation, promoting solar energy and urban transport, urban planning and municipal management.
The project area encompasses four city corporations in Dhaka region and one in Khulna region, 12 municipalities -- seven in Dhaka and five in Khulna -- and 36 urban centres at upazila levels.
Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) is currently preparing a 20-year master plan for the capital city under the project.