June 20, 2021

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The city dwellers want freedom from waterlogging

Dhaka received 75 mm of rain in three hours from 6 to 9 in the morning on Tuesday. The rains, on the one hand, have relieved the city dwellers from the scorching heat, and on the other hand, they have suffered due to the flooding of the low-lying areas. Roads in different areas including Malibagh, Banani, Dhanmondi, Panthapath, Mirpur, Green Road, Airport Road have been flooded. The maximum rainfall in Chittagong was 103 mm. According to meteorologists, 44 to 6 mm of rain is called heavy rainfall, 11 to 22 mm is called moderate rainfall, and 23 to 43 mm is called moderate to heavy rainfall.

Public life in many parts of the capital has been disrupted due to heavy rains in a short period of time. Could it have been avoided? Of course it could have been avoided if the drainage system had been improved. But the drainage areas in Dhaka city are full. Most of the city’s canals are dead, ponds, ditches and reservoirs have been occupied. The ones that still survive have accumulated piles of rubbish. As a result, rain water cannot move.

Dhaka WASA was responsible for eliminating waterlogging in Dhaka city. Although they spent crores of rupees every year in the name of digging canals, digging ponds, etc., the situation was deteriorating. Waterlogging was increasing every year during the monsoon season. In this situation, on 31 December 2020, Dhaka North and South City Corporation was given the responsibility of resolving the water blockage of Dhaka and rescuing the canal. After realizing the responsibility, the two city corporations have also done some work to alleviate the water shortage. But it was not possible for them to finish the work in just five months. As a result, the people of Dhaka were frustrated on the first day of heavy rains.

However, the two city mayors have also highlighted some real problems with drainage. At present various development works are going on in Dhaka city including Metrorail, Elevated Expressway. These developments also create waterlogging in many cases. The navigability of the river that will go after the drainage of rain water also needs to be ensured. Four rivers around Dhaka — Buriganga, Shitalakshya, Turag, Balu এখন are now almost extinct. Every river is seriously occupied and polluted. Arbitrary use of polythene is one of the reasons for waterlogging in Dhaka. Drainage has been blocked by dumping polythene in roads, ponds and rivers. The answer is to stop the arbitrary use of polythene. At the same time all canals, ponds, ditches and reservoirs have to be vacated.

The mayors of the two city corporations said that the level of waterlogging in Dhaka will be less this year. The rainy season has just begun. There will be more rain ahead. In this situation, the two city corporations have to move forward with a sustainable and integrated program to alleviate the water shortage in Dhaka. We want to hope that the two city mayors will speak. They are people’s representatives. The city dwellers want freedom from waterlogging.

City Corporation has been given the responsibility as Dhaka WASA has failed to resolve the water blockage. Who will be responsible if they fail? In the final analysis, it is the failure of the government.