June 18, 2021

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Waterlogging in Dhaka before the monsoon

When it rains, waterlogging is the destiny of the people of the capital. The two city corporations of Dhaka took various initiatives to liberate the people from such a situation. WASA takes control of canals, sewers, box culverts and pumping stations. Cleaning operations were carried out. But the two cities could not ‘pass’ the first test of the season. Roads in many parts of Dhaka were inundated by the first heavy rain of the year on Tuesday.

However, despite the initiatives of the two cities, heavy rains may cause waterlogging this time as well. They say the work has yielded some benefits. Water has gone down from many places in a short time yesterday. They emphasize on publicly planned initiatives to solve the problem permanently.

It started raining at 8 am yesterday. Leave till 9 am. According to the Meteorological Department, the rainfall was 85 mm at this time. Another 3 mm of rain fell from 9 am to 6 pm. This rain in Dhaka was the highest in the last four years. Earlier, on June 12, 2016, 133 mm of rain fell in the capital.

Yesterday’s rain flooded roads in different areas. Water congestion has caused traffic jams on some roads. Office-going people have to suffer in this. One of them is Sajeda Akhter. His home is in Mirpur. He left home at 8 am for work in Motijheel. ‘As soon as I went to Kalshi Road, I saw waist-deep water on the road. After searching, we came to know that the road from Mirpur No. 10 to Agargaon has sunk. The condition of the road from Mirpur 10 to Mirpur 14 is also the same. Said Sajeda.

Those who have come out of the house in search of livelihood like Sajeda have had to study in such a situation. Shafiqul Islam, a resident of East Shewrapara, said he got down from his house and saw knee-deep water on the road. The permanent resident of East Shewrapara said he had not seen so much water in front of his house in more than a decade.

It has been seen on the spot that like in previous years, Kazipara, Shewrapara, Rokeya Sarani, Darussalam Road, Shyamoli, Dhanmondi 26, Green Road in Mirpur were submerged in water yesterday. New Elephant Road, Kalshi, Kamalapur, Rajarbagh, Rampura, Khilkhet, Mohakhali, Kakli, Gulshan-Badda Link Road. Due to the submergence of the road, the number of public transport on the road was less.

Mohammad Raihan, a bus driver from Mirpur to Sadarghat, told Prothom Alo that the road from Mirpur to Agargaon has been completed but the road has not been fixed yet. Holes remain in various places. He drove the car at risk.

On 31 December last year, two cities in Dhaka took over the responsibility of canals, sewers and pump stations from WASA.

Two city corporations of Dhaka have partially passed the first test of waterlogging.

Iqbal Habib, Architect

Two more years to bring waterlogging to a tolerable level

Asked about yesterday’s waterlogging, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said, “We will prioritize the areas where waterlogging has occurred in our next course of action and we will be able to bring waterlogging to a tolerable level in the next two years.”

And Dhaka North City Mayor. Atiqul Islam said in the first light, ‘This is the first education for us. Where there is waterlogging, we will sit in an emergency meeting. We will try to take appropriate initiatives in a short time on how we can benefit the city dwellers in the coming monsoon.

‘Partial pass’

Architect Iqbal Habib said, “Two city corporations have partially passed the first test of waterlogging.” As for the reason for saying ‘partial pass’, he said, they got this responsibility only a few months ago. The urbanist added that weaknesses were identified in yesterday’s rain. It turned out that in many places the water has gone down in a short time. The corporation says they have identified the problem. It has been proved that the solution has started.

Asked whether the initiatives of the two cities were enough to alleviate the water shortage, Adil Muhammad Khan, general secretary of the Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), an organization of urbanists, told Prothom Alo that what the two cities had done in a short time after taking over from WASA was satisfactory. However, it is not possible to clean the dirt that has accumulated for a long time. So it will take time to complete this work completely.

The city dweller had earlier warned of waterlogging in case of heavy rains. He recently said in the first light, ‘It cannot be said that waterlogging will not happen only if certain canals and box culverts are cleaned. This continuity must be maintained. If it rains heavily, there will be waterlogging in some places again.

Which is what the two cities of Dhaka are doing

According to the data provided by the two cities of Dhaka, the southern city currently has 999 km of sewers. In addition, there is a box culvert of about 6 kilometers. And there are five canals. On the other hand, there are 1,360 kilometers of sewers in North City. The company has received 21 canals from WASA.

South City started cleaning the box culverts a day after receiving the responsibility from WASA. The company has since removed waste from Jirani, Manda, Kalunagar, Kajla and Shampur canals and removed illegal structures on both sides. Talking to the engineers, it is learned that a project worth Tk 103 crore has been implemented by identifying 25 places where waterlogging occurs due to light rains. Apart from this, another ward-based project worth Tk.

Pumphouses are one of the means of transporting stagnant water to the rivers around Dhaka. Dhaka South City got the responsibility of two pump stations from WASA. Officials say the two pump stations received from WASA were out of order. Work is underway to activate these. Two out of three pump machines have already been commissioned at Kamalapur and one out of three at Dolairpar. Attempts are being made to activate the rest of the machines by next July.

Dhaka North City is working on two processes to free the city dwellers from the suffering of waterlogging. The waste management department is working to clean the canals and drains to keep the water flowing properly. From January 4 to May 2, 18,340 tons of waste has been removed from 29 canals. And the engineering department is renovating the pumphouse and identifying areas where waterlogging is high.

Commodore M Saidur Rahman, chief waste management officer of the agency, said the canals were being removed as part of a short-term plan. He said Tk 6 to 7 crore has been spent so far to remove waste from 29 canals.

Dhaka North has already completed the development of infrastructure including pipelines by identifying five places where waterlogging occurs despite light rains. According to the information provided by the engineering department of the company, the work has been completed in Vijay Sarani, Madhubag in Magbazar, Kakli from the airport and Khejurbagan area next to the parliament building. Engineers say the company has already spent at least Rs 50 crore on the work.