Excavation of Mongla-Ghashiakhali naval channel is being hampered due to lack of soil storage space. This is likely to have an adverse effect on the arrival and departure of ships at Mongla port. The locals demanded to remove the accumulated soil from the river bank and start dredging system by acquiring land. The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) said it was trying to resolve the issue.
The Mongla-Ghashiakhali channel in Bagerhat was closed due to naval crisis. As a result, BIWTA started excavating the challan in July 2014. The channel was opened for shipping on May 7 of the following year.
However, dredging continues to keep the navigability of the channel intact. The excavated soil is dumped on both sides of the river to form high mounds of soil. Besides, the roads were closed due to mud and sand entering the storm. The locals are in trouble. They said that people’s houses have been damaged a lot. That cannot be said. If there is a storm or a little wind, it becomes difficult for us to stay here. It has become risky for us to be here.
Meanwhile, dredging work is often hampered due to lack of space to keep the soil. If the dredging system is not kept operational by acquiring privately owned land including removing the excavated soil from both the sides of the river, the excavation work may come to a complete halt. Which will have an impact on the Mongla port and the economy of the region.
In this regard, the people involved in the dredging work said that the dyke where we are doing dredging, we have to sit because there is not enough space or there is not much space.
MA Sabur Rana, member secretary of the Mongla-Ghashiakhali Channel Protection Struggle Committee, said that if the channel is closed, it will not be possible to keep the Mongla-Ghashiakhali channel open. And will have an adverse effect on the Sundarbans.
Meanwhile, BIWTA officials said they were trying to resolve the issue by identifying the problems. In this regard, the Deputy Assistant Engineer of the dredging department of BIWTA. Anisuzzaman said that at the rate at which soil is being dumped all the time, we don’t really have a place. For this we need a big plan. With that a big space is needed.
Incidentally, on January 9, the concerned ministry renamed the channel as ‘Bangabandhu Mongla-Ghashiakhali Canal’. About 34 million cubic meters of soil has been excavated through dredging of the channel. Since 2015, about 2 lakh small and large ships have sailed through this channel.