$497M dredge commissioned at Little Diamond Sluice

A first-of-its-kind, self-propelled Cutter Head Dredge valued at over $497 million was commissioned on Saturday at the Little Diamond Sluice to effectively execute drainage and irrigation works in farming communities along the East Bank corridor. 

This project is part of the government’s adaptive policy to climate change to mitigate flooding. 

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha

This will bring immense relief to many farmers by providing improved access to their farmlands to boost food productivity. 

The dredge is equipped with a GPS system, lifeboat and buoys, first aid kits, various fire prevention mechanisms, two 400 horsepower self-propelled engines, two excavators, living quarters for 9 operators, a generator, solar panel, among others.

Cutting of the ceremonial ribbon for the Cutter Head Dredge at Little Diamond Sluice

The contract for this monumental project, which was awarded to S. Jagmohan Hardware and Construction Services.

During remarks, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha highlighted that within three years, much progress has been made in the agriculture sector to accelerate food production, with the implementation of many transformative projects.   

The government is advancing the modernisation of drainage infrastructure countrywide, as some nine pump stations are being built across the country.

“We want to increase production. If we have to increase production, then we have to modernise our infrastructure…We have to increase our drainage capacity… We are hoping to put a system in place that will be responsive to our people in the country to mitigate flooding,” Minister Mustapha stated.

Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha and others during a tour of the vessel

Meanwhile, Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth highlighted that the vessel is one of the most important assets in NDIA’s inventory.

“It’s a self-propelled vessel and it is equipped with the component to do the dredging. Self-propulsion of this equipment will allow us to be more responsive to address the concerns of dredging of our outfall channels…We would have built this piece of equipment… and in a more efficient way,” Wordsworth pointed out.

A section of the gathering

He also disclosed that 160 sluices across the country require dredging, 30 per cent on a seasonal basis.

This new dredge will allow drainage works at the outfalls to be completed in two weeks instead of four.  

When dredging, this equipment has the capacity to discharge 1,250-metre cubes of a mixture of solid and fluid.

Farmer and resident of Mocha, David Joyce

Farmer and resident of Mocha, David Joyce expressed, “I would like to thank the government for bringing this piece of equipment in our area. We will benefit a lot from this dredge. My area that I’m living is prone to flooding, so this piece of equipment will help us a lot.”

The government continues to build a resilient agriculture industry by collaborating closely with farmers and offering technical and other support.

Recently, a budget of $5.6 billion was allocated to further accelerate and revolutionise the agriculture industry.

Cutter Head Dredge at Little Diamond Sluice

Of this sum, the NDIA would get additional funding in the amount of $2.5 billion.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Delma Nedd, Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, Director General of the Ministry, Madanlall Ramraj, Chief Executive Officer of NAREI, Jagnarine Singh, Chairman of Little Diamond/Herstelling Neighbouring Democratic Council (NDC), Puneet Jaigopaul, and other staff and engineers of the ministry were also present at the event.