The official of Bangladesh Inland Water and Road Transport Authority (BIWTA) on Monday said that dredging of Ghasiakhali Channel will be finished by this month.
The government had sped up dredging of the Mongla-Ghasiakhali channel for restoring its navigability to resume river traffic movement on this route by June.
The BIWTA had employed nine dredgers and four excavators at different points on the route with the intention of dredging a total of 10 million cubic metres of soil to make the channel 330 feet wide and around 13 feet deep for smooth navigation.
Saidur Rahman, Executive Engineer and Project Director, said that the remaining part of dredging will be finished by the end of this month.
"We were expecting to finish our dreading very soon. Initially, we made the channel around 100 feet wide and around nine feet deep keeping in mind smooth vessel operation," he said.
He also added that although the target was 101.80 lakh square km to dredge but they completed about 90.26 lakh square km till now and spent about Tk.225.65 crore.
The Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), Water Development Board (WDB) and the district administration have simultaneously taken several initiatives to reopen the route following an oil spill disaster in the Shela river on December 9 last year.
The 31-kilometre-long channel, which was introduced in 1974, started losing its navigability more than a decade ago due to lack of maintenance. Finally, the channel was closed in 2011 and vessels were forced to take an alternative route through the Shela in the Sundarban.
According to BIWTA officials, at least 22 kilometers of the channel must be dredged to make it fit for river transport.