City corpns lead agencies, not DWASA

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 17 Jul 2017, 13:14:04
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City corpns lead agencies, not DWASA

LGRD minister opines on tackling water-logging
FE Report
Identifying illegal grabbing of canals and blocking those with solid waste materials as the major reasons behind the persistent water-logging in the capital, the LGRD minister on Sunday opined that the two city corporations are the lead agencies in controlling the problem.

"Dhaka WASA (DWASA) cannot be the lead agency in solving water-logging, as it does not interact with people directly. Those who are close to people and accountable to them should take the responsibility," said LGRD Minister Khandker Mosharrof Hossain.

An integrated drainage master-plan was also recommended along with recovering the canals to save Dhaka from water-logging.

He said the decision of ensuring inter-agency coordination and defining the role of each agency in solving the problem will be done later.

The minister said these while speaking as the chief guest of third inter-department coordination meeting on solving water-logging of the capital at Nagar Bhaban.

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) organised the event with Mayor Annisul Huq in the chair.

Housing Minister Eng Mosharraf Hossain and Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud were present in the programme as the special guests.

The LGRD minister said the areas of the city corporations (Dhaka north and south) have increased three-four times with addition of 16 new unions with them. The magnitude of various problems is no longer at the same level as it was before.

So the solution to the problem of water-logging should be planned in accordance with the changing situation. Whatever master-plan DWASA has (in tackling it) is no longer relevant.

"I request DWASA and the city corporations to prepare separate master-plans on drainage system."

He also said Dhaka city was projected to have only 17 million people. But the reality is its population has doubled than the projection. The management of 7,000-8,000 tonnes of garbage per day is a serious problem.

"The canals are blocked with household garbage. If we cannot manage this garbage, no programme to resolve water-logging crisis will be effective," added Mr Mosharrof.

In his remarks, Annisul Huq said citizens directly blame the mayor for water-logging, over which he hardly has any control.

The canals directly belong to the deputy commissioner (DC) of Dhaka, and DWASA is supposed to maintain those by cleaning the garbage and ensuring depth through dredging. Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) is supposed to pump out rainwater from those.

"I will not take any responsibility. Mr DC you recover the canals from illegal grabbers and handover to us. DWASA you clean those canals," said the mayor.

He also focussed on solving the nagging water-logging crisis within next one year.

Earlier, DNCC superintendent engineer Sharifuddin Ahmed made a presentation on the condition of 23 canals flowing within the areas under DNCC, causes behind the water-logging, and recommendations to solve the problem.

He said there are 43 canals in the capital under the DC of Dhaka. Of those, 26 are maintained by DWASA, and eight are controlled by the DC. Nine canals alternatively pump out water through roads, box culverts and brick sewer line.

He showed that most of the canals are illegally grabbed. Subsequently, width of the canals has narrowed down, and in some areas the canals have disappeared, as various structures and houses are constructed on those.

"If we cannot ensure flow of the 26 canals across the city, free those from illegal grabbing, and maintain a proper drainage system, no roads will work, and no programme by DWASA will be effective," he opined.

DWASA managing director Taqsem A Khan said in some areas the canals have been grabbed illegally. During eviction drives it was found that some of the house owners have valid documents, which showed that there was no canal, and they have taken necessary permission from Rajuk.

DC of Dhaka Mohammad Salah Uddin said in last August a coordination meeting was held. There it was decided that the canal area will be identified, and a list of the illegal grabbers will be prepared. DC office has submitted the list of grabbers to the city corporations.

Housing secretary Shahidullah Khondker said, "I firmly believe that there is no permission of the buildings, constructed illegally on the canals. So it's very easy to evict those. If there's any permission, we will cancel it."

Anisul Islam Mahmud said the process cannot keep pace with the speed the mayor wants. But the decision to recover the canals has to be made.

The grabbers should learn that if they build houses illegally by grabbing canals, those will be demolished. Besides, the water-logging issue is there. The CS/RS cannot be in possession of individuals. Those are fake, he added.

The housing minister said a short-term solution is needed right now - that is to clean the canals and increase their depth. DWASA is cleaning the garbage, but dredging is not done. The organisation has not been maintaining the sewerage system.

"The low-lying areas around the city have been filled up. The government can engage the army to recover the canals," he opined.

Architect Iqbal Habib said an integrated drainage master-plan is needed to solve the water-logging problem. Other projects of Rajuk have to be integrated with the master-plan. Rajuk has to preserve the low-lying areas, drainage system and water-bodies in its detailed area plan (DAP), he added.

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