The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) has completed around 40% of beautification work of the shores of four rivers surrounding Dhaka city.
The project got underway in 2018 with the aim of environmental development on both sides of the Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakshya and Balu rivers through building walkways, eco-parks and modern jetties on land freed in eviction drives.
The rest of the work is supposed to be completed in 2023.
"Once the project is completed, the rivers surrounding Dhaka will get a gorgeous look and will offer a charming beauty," said Project Director Nurul Alam.
"Then this will become a tourist spot and an ideal time spending place for river lovers."
The Tk849 crore project includes 52km walkways, 409 benches for sitting, 1km keywall, two bridges, 19 jetties and 10,820 boundary pillars to prevent illegal grabbing of the rivers. Besides, three eco-parks will be set up along the rivers.
Meanwhile, the authorities have bought six long-boom excavators under the project.
Of the project area, 20.85km is under the Dhaka River Port, 14.103km under the Tongi River Port and 17.05km under the Narayanganj River Port.
"No doubt, this is a timely project," said Professor Mir Tareq Ali of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet).
"But to get the fruit of the project, the government has to make the rivers usable. The pollution of the rivers has to be controlled and the environment has to be kept healthy through strict monitoring. Also, dredging and maintenance have to be conducted from time to time to ensure navigability."
The expert recommended that a water transport system around Dhaka be initiated to attract people to the rivers.
About the benefits of using water transport, he said this has less carbon emission and at the same time it will ease the traffic congestion on the city roads.
Meanwhile, Deputy Project Director Md Motiul Islam said work of 3.5km walkway and 3,000 permanent boundary pillars have already been completed.
In addition, some 1,000 trees have been planted in different project areas.
Further, around 20% of work of the eco-park at Tongi has been completed, he added.
As per the purchase information of the project, BIWTA has already collected six long-boom excavators for Tk14 crore and six pontoons for Tk5.46 crore.
Besides, it has purchased a double cabin pickup for around Tk49.6 lakh.
Meanwhile, the BIWTA has sent a revised draft project profile of around Tk1181.10 crore, including dredging and an extension to the size of walkways and the number of eco-parks, ghats, keywalls, and boundary walls.
The revised project is waiting for approval of the planning ministry.