Easy illegally

Shyampur slum people pay Tk 500 each for connection, Tk 50 a month for uninterrupted supply of Wasa water; legal subscribers of locality complain about dearth of water

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Fresh water from a Dhaka Wasa pump station is delivered to slum dwellers beside the rail lines in Namapara in Shyampur in the capital through at least 500 illegal connections. Inset, a man adds another illegal connection to the tally. Locals claimed that legitimate connection holders have to stay up at night to collect water but the slum dwellers get Wasa water 24/7. Photo: Anisur Rahman

While the entire Shyampur area in the capital’s southeastern part reels under chronic water shortage, an unscrupulous gang is illegally providing 24-hour water supply to hundreds of households and businesses in the slums along a two-km stretch of the railway track.
The slum dwellers said each household or business pays Tk 500 for the illegal connection and Tk 50 per month for the non-stop supply of water. The unofficial Wasa (Water and Sewerage Authority) subscribers also pay an additional amount for the two-inch diameter pipe. Small factories, shops and restaurants also pay for the illegal connections. The practice has continued for years, slum dwellers said.

Fresh water from a Dhaka Wasa pump station is delivered to slum dwellers beside the rail lines in Namapara in Shyampur in the capital through at least 500 illegal connections. Inset, a man adds another illegal connection to the tally. Locals claimed that legitimate connection holders have to stay up at night to collect water but the slum dwellers get Wasa water 24/7.

Fresh water from a Dhaka Wasa pump station is delivered to slum dwellers beside the rail lines in Namapara in Shyampur in the capital through at least 500 illegal connections. Inset, a man adds another illegal connection to the tally. Locals claimed that legitimate connection holders have to stay up at night to collect water but the slum dwellers get Wasa water 24/7. Photo: Anisur Rahman

Genuine Wasa subscribers in the locality, which includes a 200-plot Rajuk residential area and have an industrial zone nearby, said they hardly get tap water in their houses during daytime.
Shahadat Hossain, a house owner in the area, alleged that the entire business of illegal connections is controlled by some unscrupulous people working at the Wasa pump house near the Rajuk housing complex.
He mentioned that every household in the area has to remain awake till late in the night when a trickle of water comes down the tap for keeping it for the next day.
“We are very annoyed to learn about the uninterrupted water supply in the slums while genuine subscribers like us are deprived of water,” said Shahadat. “We tried to locate the Wasa linemen in the area but none can say where they are.”
Contacted, Executive Engineer of Wasa Zone-7 Abdul Wahab said every zonal revenue officer with the help of his assistants prepares a monthly list of illegal water connections and sends it to the Wasa head office for action.
“A magistrate is then assigned to disconnect the illegal lines,” he added.
Revenue Officer of Zone-7 Indrajit Shingha Chowdhury admitted having illegal connections in Shyampur but refused to give details.
Sources in the Wasa said there are more than 1,00,000 (one lakh) illegal connections in the capital, causing a systems loss of nearly 30 percent. Every day, Wasa pumps out 225 crore litres of water for distribution which should be enough for its subscribers.
Managing Director of Wasa Taqsem A Khan told The Daily Star that most of the illegal water connections could be found in slum areas of the city, where 3.5 million people are living.
“We are now running a programme to legalise all illegal connections in the slum areas,” said Taqsem. “We had to change the Wasa law, which only allowed land owners to have our connection.”
He said the programme is yet to cover Shyampur area. “We are working with NGOs in the slum areas to provide legal water connections,” he added.

Source: The Daily Star

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