A moderate rain inundated around two-third of Khulna city yesterday, causing immense suffering to the dwellers.
According to the Met office, 39mm rainfall was recorded in the city on the day. Amirul Azad, senior meteorological officer, told The Daily Star that the rain stated at 12:20pm and ended at 2pm.
Locals and development activists said encroachment of waterbodies in and around the city and poor drainage system caused such waterlogging.
City dwellers alleged that the sufferings of around 1.7 million people living in 45.65 sq km area under 31 wards are persisting due to indifference of the authorities concerned.
According to Khulna City Corporation, total length of the city's drainage network is 651.50km. Of it, 291.23km is concrete, 55km half concrete and 305km earthen.
While visiting many areas -- including Daulatpur, Pabla, Boyra, Rupsha Stand Road, KDA Avenue, Iqbalnagar, Tutpara, Gallamari, Moilapota, Dakbangla, Santhidham Mor, Phulmarket and Press Club -- this correspondent found most of the roads under ankle- to knee-deep water.
Slum dwellers and people in low-lying Bastuhara, South Pabla, Dayana and Boyra areas were the worst sufferers. Many kitchen markets -- including Sheikhpara, Bastuhara and Boikali -- went under water.
Vehicles were found stranded on waterlogged roads at Dakbangla and Shibbari intersections. Many were busy removing water from their homes and shops.
Habibur Rahman, a resident of Bastuhara, expressed his disappointment. "Most of the drains in our area are not properly cleaned," he said.
Imran Sheikh from Boyra residential area told The Daily Star their area got waterlogged just 10 to 15 minutes after the rain began. "Very often, the area is submerged by rainwater," he added.
Anisur Rahman, conservancy officer of KCC, told this newspaper that KCC regularly cleans the drains to ease waterflow. "It's a continuous process," he said.
The cleaning drive for all 2,187 drains is sometimes interrupted due to manpower shortage, he added.
Besides, the city dwellers dump solid waste in those sewers, said Anisur Rahman, adding that this malpractice has to be changed to assist KCC in resolving the crisis.
Sheikh Ashrafuzzaman, secretary general of Greater Khulna Unnayan Sangram Committee, said, "The city's drains and canals have lost their navigability and waterflow due to encroachment and continuous garbage dumping, causing such waterlogging."
When contacted, city Mayor Talukder Abdul Khaleque said during high tides in the Bhairab and Rupsha around the city, the sewers cannot properly drain water to the rivers. "Tidal water also enters the city's drainage channel. In addition, rain aggravates the situation," he added.
"KCC has taken steps to repair and construct drains as well as excavate 22 canals at a cost of Tk 823 crore," said the mayor.
Khulna city was once blessed with over 50 canals. Now, more than half of those waterbodies are dead. The remaining 22 ones are struggling for survival.