Gov’t expends close to $500M to procure Cutter Head Dredge

hundreds of farmers, residents across the country to benefit from improved drainage 

On Saturday, Agriculture Minister Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha commissioned a cutter head dredge at Little Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara.

The dredge, a first of its kind for the ministry, was procured by the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) at a cost of $497,464,600 and will be used to desilt outfall channels and improve drainage systems across the country.

Agriculture Minister, Hon. Zulfikar Mustapha

Minister Mustapha in his address said that the newly commissioned piece of equipment was a testament to the government’s commitment to delivering quality services through state-of-the-art equipment to residents and farmers across the country.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha and other officials while cutting the ceremonial ribbon at the commissioning of the cutter head dredge

“This cutter head dredge will not only improve the drainage in the residential area, it will also contribute tremendously to production in the farming communities. We have hundreds of outfalls around the country and this piece of equipment will help us to clear those outfalls easily. Based on the specifications, we will now take about two weeks to clear an outfall where as it would usually take four weeks or more. Not only will the residential areas benefit, but the farming communities will also benefit. Agriculture is now the bedrock of our country. As a government, our vision is to develop this sector,” Minister Mustapha explained.

NDIA Chairman, Lionel Wordsworth

Chairman of the NDIA, Lionel Wordsworth noted that although the idea of acquiring a cutter head dredge was conceptualized some time back, it was only in 2021 that the government approved funds for it to be procured.

“This project was conceptualized a while ago but in 2021 we got our approved budget to move forward. It later went out for public tendering and through a competitive bidding process, a contract was later awarded. I’m happy to say that the entire design, supervision, fabrication, and putting together of equipment was done by Guyanese engineers and staff. This piece of equipment is the first of its kind for NDIA whereby it’s a self-propelled vessel equipped with the component to do the dredging. This will allow us to be more responsive to address the concerns of dredging outfall channels,” he explained.

Minister Zulfikar Mustapha while powering up the piece of machinery

The dredge is outfitted with a global positioning system (GPS), life-saving and fire-protection equipment, propulsion and steering systems, and operating equipment which includes two excavators, a cutter head and engine, a generator, living quarters for nine operators, etc.

The cutter head was designed to be fitted on a short-reach excavator, which increases the mobility of the equipment, allowing it to have a wider range of operations as well as increased efficiency of the cutter head while excavating material. The cutter head has a suction bore of 250mm and a discharge pipe of 250mm. Driven by another 400HP Cummins engine, the pump speed can reach up to 900rpm allowing for a mixture of speed and cutter discharge of 1250m3/h at water head of 20m.

A section of those in attendance

Back in May 2021, the NDIA signed a contract with S. Jagmohan Hardware Supplies for the supply of the cutter head dredge. At the time, Minister Mustapha said the products that were to be provided were seen as critical.

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