Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha on Saturday unveiled an addition to his ministry’s equipment arsenal – a state-of-the-art cutter head dredge located at Little Diamond on the East Bank of Demerara. This piece is the first of its kind for the ministry and was secured through the efforts of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA) at a total cost of $497,464,600.
This investment is poised to usher significant improvements in drainage infrastructure across the nation.
In his address at the commissioning ceremony, Minister Mustapha underscored the government’s unwavering commitment to delivering top-tier services to both residents and farmers through the utilization of advanced technology. He emphasized that this newly inaugurated equipment heralds not only enhanced drainage for residential zones but also a substantial boon for farming communities.
“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,” Minister Mustapha elaborated.
Underscoring the local contribution, Chairman of the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority (NDIA), Lionel Wordsworth, highlighted the homegrown engineering prowess behind the project’s realization. He acknowledged the prolonged conceptualization of the cutter head dredge acquisition, which culminated in securing the necessary funds in 2021. Subsequently, the competitive tendering process yielded a contract, and the machinery’s design, construction, and assembly were executed entirely by Guyanese engineers and staff.
He said that the cutter head dredge is a leap in the NDIA’s capabilities, as it allows the agency to proactively address outfall channel concerns. It’s equipped with cutting-edge features, including GPS, life-saving and fire-protection equipment, two excavators, and an array of operating systems, according to Wordsworth.
The cutter head, a testament to innovation, is designed to enhance mobility and operational efficiency. Engineered to be affixed to a short-reach excavator, it boasts a suction bore of 250mm and a discharge pipe of 250mm. A 400HP Cummins engine propels the pump to speeds of up to 900rpm, achieving a remarkable mixture of speed and cutter discharge, totaling 1250m³/h at a water head of 20m.
Notably, the contract for the acquisition of the cutter head dredge was inked with S. Jagmohan Hardware Supplies in May 2021, a move championed by Minister Mustapha for its critical importance. This investment echoes the administration’s dedication to a thriving agriculture sector, further cementing its position as a cornerstone of the nation’s growth.