Nearly 62 per cent service seekers face corruption and other irregularities in Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, says a Transparency International Bangladesh study.
While releasing the report at a news conference TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said Wednesday that as corruption and the other irregularities occur to serve mutual interests it became difficult to identify the real corrupt persons.
The report also touched the issues relating to governance challenges and the way forward for DWASA.
He said that the Anti-Corruption Commission and other authorities should unearth ‘rampant corruption’ in DWASA.
Iftekharuzzaman said that at least 91 per cent of DWASA’s consumers in the capital boiled piped water to make it drinkable.
‘It has been estimated that for the purpose of making the water drinkable by boiling has an implication of burning natural gas amounting 365,7,37,008 cubic metre, which costs approximately Tk 332.37 crore every year,’ says the study.
Due to bad quality of water supplied by DWASA its consumers suffer various waterborne diseases, it said.
‘But it should not be the case. WASA water should be drinkable and contamination-free as the people of most countries of the world drink directly from the supply lines,’ Iftekharuzzaman said.
According to survey, 24.6 per cent of DWASA’s consumers at residential and slum areas suffer from diarrhoea (63 per cent), jaundice (34.3 per cent), skin diseases (37.4 per cent), dysentery (17.1 per cent), typhoid (19.2 per cent), cholera (13.1 per cent) and other water borne diseases (3.7 per cent).
The findings show that 26.9 per cent service recipients contacted Dhaka WASA from July 2017 to June 2018, for water or sewerage related services and 61.9 per cent of them were victims of irregularities, harassment and corruption.
Among the victims, 36.1 per cent had to pay bribes, 51.3 per cent faced negligence, 20.7 per cent became victims of delay, 23 per cent were victims of absurd billing and 3.8 per cent became victims of other types of corruption including meter and bill tempering.
The findings say that service seekers were compelled to pay Tk 200 to Tk 3,000 for taking water connections, Tk 300 to Tk 4,500 for clearing choked pipelines, Tk 200 to Tk 1,500 to get emergency water supply from DAWASA’s water tankers, Tk1,000 to Tk1,5000 to buy or change a metre, Tk 50 to Tk 3,000 to get the metre read and settlement of a bill and Tk 100,000 to Tk 200,000 to get permission for sinking a deep tube-well.
The survey said that over 33 per cent service recipients reported that they were dissatisfied with DWASA’s poor quality of services and endemic corruption and irregularities inside the utility.
‘However, the rate of satisfaction over quality of water and sewerage system is quite dissatisfactory. Survey data show that only 6.8 per cent service recipients expressed their satisfaction over quality of water and 2.2 per cent recipients expressed their satisfaction over the services related to the sewerage system,’ it shows.
TIB made 10 recommendations to make DWASA more service oriented and three recommendations to make the government’s Local Government Division more effective.
TIB also recommended to create a dedicated regulatory commission to determine water and sewerage tariffs.
It recommended to form DWASA’s board of directors free from political influence and undue biases to make the water utility efficient as the Dhaka WASA Act requires.
It recommended the formulation and implementation fair recruitment in contractual positions.
It also recommended updating the organogram of Dhaka WASA and filling up vacant posts especially of the deputy managing director, revenue inspectors and pump operators on priority.
The other recommendations are including ensure supervision of field level activities, inspection of canals, monitoring of revenue collection, drainage management and accountability.
Ensure proper repairing and maintenance of existing lines and construction of new sewerage lines for the purpose of draining out rain water and sewage.
Ensure uses of surface water along with rainwater in order to reduce pressure on groundwater and ensure sustainable and environmentally friendly water production system.
Expedite the construction projects on surface water treatment plants.
Update service related information on the website and increase publicity about service related initiatives.
Ensure necessary logistics and vehicles for inspection both in head office and MODS zone offices.
Promote positive and negative incentives to control irregularities and corruption in Dhaka WASA. Besides, the dishonest employees must be identified and made accountable.
Introduce a standard assessment system in order to assess the quality of services and to enhance the quality.
The study done by TIB’s programme manager for research and policy department M Shahnur Rahman and deputy programme manager M Sahidul Islam covered the capital and the river port city of Narayanganj.
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