Who will save deluged Dhaka?

In front of Notre Dame College at noon. Photo: Hasan Raza
In front of Notre Dame College at noon. Photo: Hasan Raza

The government has no pragmatic steps to resolve the persistent water-logging that has gripped the city, said officials on condition of anonymity.

Although the government takes some decisions to tackle water-logging on an emergency basis, not all these decisions are ultimately implemented, the officials added.

Wednesday’s water-logging brought the lives of the city people to a standstill, in addition to the constant traffic congestion in the capital.

Most areas in the city, including Basaboo, Mugdapara, Azimpur, New Market, Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Mirpur, Malibagh, Mouchak, Rampura, Motijheel, Demra and even the secretariat, the headquarters of the administration, were inundated.

Employees and visitors of the secretariat who had no cars, waded through knee-deep water. The fire service used pumps to remove water at the secretariat.

Dhaka North City and Dhaka South City Corporations have no answer to the water-logging problems.

Talking to journalists at the secretariat on Wednesday, local government and rural development minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said, “I promise you will not face such water-logging next year.”

The Awami League-led government has been in power since 2009. The organisations concerned have done nothing to resolve the water-logging problem. The government has taken no long-term measures to address the issue.

 

Vehicles move though water in Shantinagar. Photo was taken yesterday noon.Speaking to Prothom Alo, architect Mubasshar Hussain said the work plans do not tally with the decisions. A decision was taken for Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) to restore the vanished canals. On the other hand, there are no work plans as to which organisations which will be engaged and for how many days, to restore the canals.

Officials of the local government said a meeting was held at the initiative mayor of Dhaka City Corporation (north) Annisul Huq.

Local government minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, housing and public works minister Mosharraf Hossain and water resources minister Anisul Islam Mahmud were present. A number of experts also attended the meeting.

The meeting decided on a master plan to remove the water-logging from the capital. As part of the plan, the canals in the capital have to be restored.

 

Dhanmondi, Road No 27. People wade though knee-deep and waist-deep water.Joint secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon and architect Iqbal Habib also joined the meeting.

Speaking to Prothom Alo on Wednesday, Iqbal Habib said the problems of water-logging may be solved if the decisions taken at the meeting are implemented properly. To begin the work, certain provisions of different laws will have to be amended, he said, so it will take time. So the question remains when the work can be started, he added.

About the LGRD minister’s promise, Habib said political assurances do not yield results.

He said the problems of the city have increased as the necessary works were not carried out. Earlier, there was no water-logging without heavy rain.

Iqbal Habib said the experiences of last few days show that many areas of city are deluged when there is just light to moderate rain.

According to officials at the LGRD ministry, at the meeting organised by Annisul Huq, it was that the drainage department of WASA would be included in the city corporations to remove water logging.

But the city corporation is not interested to in this as the drains are not in good shape, the officials said. So the final decision in this regard is yet to be taken, the officials added.

There is no relief for the people from the nagging water-logging in the entire city. On the contrary, road digging for utility services and dilapidated roads cause untold sufferings to the city people.

Kazipara of Mirpur inundated. The rickshaw fell into a ditch under water. The passenger and the rickshaw puller narrowly escapeIn the 56 millimeters of rain since 6:00am to 12:00pm on Wednesday, water rose up knee-high and waist-high in some places of the capital. As vehicles could not move, lives of the city people virtually came to a standstill.

Office workers, students and labourers all faced problems to reach their destinations. Alimul Hoque lives in Section 6 of Mirpur. He works in an office at Gulshan 2. Hoque said it took him two and half hours to reach office from his house.

A mother Tahmina Khatun found no way to take her child to school in Shawrapara from Mirpur 10. She started to walk bare foot with her child.

She said, “What should we do? We see no possibility of things getting better in Dhaka.”

Mayor Annisul Huq told journalists, “We are also facing adversity like the city residents. But we have no magic to solve it overnight. We are trying. Allah willing, the water-logging will decrease next year.”

Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation Sayeed Khokon said WASA has to shoulder the responsibility of water-logging. If the city corporation has to take the responsibility, WASA has to be affiliated with the city corporation, he added.

Managing director of WASA Taksim A Khan said, “Waters of all rivers around Dhaka are flowing above the danger level so we have to shut down all sluice gates to drain out water from the city. It takes time for water to recede.”

Source: Prothom Alo

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