A project of about Tk899 crore was approved at a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Tuesday to rescue and renovate 19.78 kilometres of four canals under Dhaka South City Corporation.
The renovation will create an aesthetic environment in those areas and the project is supposed to be completed by June 2026, Planning Minister MA Mannan told reporters after the meeting.
The four canals are Kalungar canal in Hazaribagh, Jirani canal in the Khilgaon-Bashabo area, Manda canal in Begunbari, and the Shyampur canal.
According to the project proposal, rainwater from different areas of Dhaka city falls into canals and rivers through storm sewer pipes, box culverts, and catch pits. However, due to unplanned urbanisation in most parts of Dhaka North, these canals cannot drain the rainwater, causing waterlogging during monsoon.
International standards require reservoirs to contain at least five milligrams of dissolved oxygen per litre whereas most of the rivers around Dhaka have dropped below one milligram as a result of constant water pollution.
Due to the lack of water flow in the canal, mosquitoes are also increasing. This has increased the prevalence of various diseases including dengue and chikungunya. The proposal for renovation has been made to address these issues, said the planning minister.
Planning Department Secretary Md Mamun-Al-Rashid said that while approving the project, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recalled there were many canals in Dhaka in her childhood but now many canals have been encroached upon. She ordered the authorities concerned to preserve all the canals of Dhaka.
At the Ecnec meeting, six other projects of about Tk7,019 crores were also approved.
The approved projects are construction of the Seamans Hostel Complex Building, Improving the Reliability and Safety of National Highway Corridor of Bangladesh by Intelligent Transport System, a development project of a part of the road from Ghonapara to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Tomb (including Sheikh Lutfur Rahman Bridge Approach Road).
Besides that, river bank conservation and Ghorashal's Palash Urea Fertilizer (First Revised) project to prevent erosion of the River Padma in Bhedarganj upazila of Shariatpur district, were also approved at this time.
State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam and members of the Planning Commission were present at the meeting.