City people left to walk tight rope in walking down the roads

Published: 00:00, Jun 12,2021


NOT having had enough time has become an excuse that city authorities of Dhaka appear to be readily giving when it comes to the sufferings of people caused by water stagnation after rain and exacerbated by the digging of roads and lanes meant to resolve the problem of water stagnation. People, not just in parts of the capital city but across a large number of areas, have immensely suffered in recent times — when it rained 111 millimetres on June 5 and 85 millimetres on June 1 — as roads had been under knee- to waist-high water for hours, spraining public movement and even harming trade in some cases. City authorities took over the management and maintenance of 385 kilometres of the city drain network and 26 canals from Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority on December 31, 2020 after the supply water and sewerage authority had miserably failed to resolve the issues in its efforts since 1988 when the supply water and sewerage agency started looking after drains and canals. As it keeps raining because of an early onset of the monsoon season, leaving roads and lanes inundated and muddy, sometimes with overflowing sewage, roads and lanes having been dug up here and there has added to the sufferings of the people.

While a number of road stretches and lanes have been dug up for the installation of pipes and sewers to improve the city drainage system, pipes and sewers have also been left piled up along some roads and lanes, all together making public movement difficult and leaving craters gaping wide for people to slip or slide into them when the areas remain submerged. The Met Office has, meanwhile, forecast heavy rainfall, which could be up to 89 millimetres a day. All this will only compound the problem and further sprain city life. City people, who complain of an unplanned approach lacking in coordination that city authorities have taken towards resolving the problem of water stagnation, believe that the city authorities should have completed their job of road digging before the monsoon season set in. This could have saved city residents the double trouble of both having to wade through submerged roads and lanes and standing the risk of slipping into the holes and craters that city authorities have dug up for drainage system improvement at the same time. Both the city authorities, in such a situation, are reported to have come up with the excuse that they have not had enough time to complete the drain improvement work as they took over the drain management only five months ago.

City authorities, who now trumpet their efforts noting that city people will face little trouble after the short-term work is done, seek to say that there will be no water stagnation after the mid- and long-term plans are executed. The south city authorities further seek to say that they have prepared a master plan for the drainage system, but the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authorities are also reported to have had such a master plan. But people continued to suffer. It is hoped that the master plans of the city authorities would afford city people the much-needed relief from water stagnation.

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