Have dredging projects followed due procedure? | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 07, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 07, 2021

Have dredging projects followed due procedure?

Former river commission chairman questions

Concerned ministry and relevant authorities should look into whether projects taken for the country's river dredging have followed due procedure, former chairman of National River Conservation Commission Muzibur Rahman Howlader said yesterday.

It should be looked at whether those who are undertaking the projects have done their pre-work conducting hydro-morphological and geophysical studies, he told a webinar.

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"There has to be consistency between [river's] width and depth…at a proportional rate," he said.

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa) organised the webinar on "River Management in Bangladesh and Dredging" marking World Environment Day, which was observed globally on Saturday.

Addressing as a guest speaker, Muzibur said if a river's width is narrowed by earth fill and depth is deepened by excessive dredging, then it might trigger erosion.

The condition of rivers in Bangladesh turns horrible in the dry season, said the former chief of the national river conservation commission.

The horrible condition of the river Teesta affects many other rivers, he said, adding, "We need to overcome such situation."

Muzibur said Bangladesh lacks a proper design for silt and sedimentation management of rivers. Having such design and planning is a necessity, he added.

For sedimentation management one needs to know its engineering, while necessary manpower and professionalism are the other prerequisites in this regard, he added.

He stressed for ensuring accountability and transparency in river management, saying good deeds done for rivers will ultimately uphold the government's image.

Muzibur said the Supreme Court Appellate Division in a judgement in 2020 ordered that agencies working on river dredging and development have to present their project proposals via the river conservation commission.

Such proposal could be placed to the planning authorities via the concerned ministry after taking stakeholders' opinion and obtaining no-objection certificate (NOC) from the commission, he said.

However, such procedure haven't been followed accordingly, he also said.

Muzibur said that there has been a 'tendency' to silence those vocal for river conservation in the country.

"We have to come out of such tendency. Otherwise, the country will count the loss," he added.

The webinar was presided over by Bapa Vice President Nazrul Islam.

Among others, Maminul H Sarker, adviser to the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services, Prof Md Khalequzzaman of Lock Haven University Pennsylvania in the US, Prof Tuhin Wadud of Begum Rokeya University, Rangpur, and Bapa General Secretary Sharif Jamil spoke at the webinar.

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