PEOPLE, living especially in Dhaka, Chittagong and Rajshahi, who live an inconvenienced life during the monsoon as rain water collects on the roads and keeps areas submerged for days, come to hear assurances, from city authorities to ranking leaders and officials of the government, that from the next monsoon, life would be easy as there would be no water stagnation. But the history of water stagnation and assurances for measures from the next monsoon repeats itself. This has been going on for years, with city people hardly having any respite. When the roads and areas go under water, authorities, all of them, keep passing the blame on to one another for the plight of the people, washing their hands of the matter. Yet it is the people, who pay taxes hoping for, among others, a life free of water stagnation, repeatedly come to suffer again. Water collects on the roads, submerging most part of the cities, when it rains, and even when the sky darkens and it stops short of raining, as people jokingly say. The photograph that New Age published on its front page on Friday speaks volume of the sufferings that people face even when the early monsoon rainfall is nothing unusual.
If an early monsoon rainfall, that too being moderate, could submerge areas in the cities of Dhaka, Chittagong and Rajshahi, straining people’s life for days, the sufferings that a heavy rainfall could cause can easily be surmised. Yet, the authorities concerned appear to remain conveniently silent about this. Roads are been dug here and there and the network of drains fail to flush out the collected rain water. This has been happening frequently these days. This suggests that the authorities, instead of blaming one another in their efforts to come clean, should rather get down to work to free people of the problem of water stagnation. While the authorities need to step up their coordination among the agencies that dig roads, which is often blamed for inconvenience that people face during the monsoon, they need to attend to the drainage issue. While the authorities might think of laying out anew the drain network, which in its present condition fails to flush out the collected rain water, the authorities should also look into if the poor litter management by city authorities blocked the drains. The authorities should also stop the encroachment on city fringes that work as water retention zones and reclaim the canals that have fallen into illegal occupation.
During the past monsoon, when the problem of rain water stagnation became acute, first, in Dhaka and, then, in Chittagong and Rajshahi, the authorities concerned said that projects were being taken for a sustainable redress and people wound not need to face the problem in the next monsoon. But that has not happened. It is time that the authorities planned a comprehensive programme to mitigate the problem of water stagnation for the cities instead of taking piecemeal plans that might afford a short-term relief but could fail to ensure a sustainable solution.
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