Wasa ready to transfer drainage management to Dhaka mayors
Dhaka Wasa authorities yesterday expressed their willingness to hand over the charge of drainage management to the two city corporations for reducing waterlogging.
The development came at the third coordination meeting of Dhaka North City Corporation with different service providing organisations at its office in Gulshan.
In response, DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq, who always declined to take the responsibility, said he was positive but an official procedure needed to be completed for the handover.
LGRD Minister Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Housing and Public Works Minister Eng Mosharraf Hossain, and Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud attended the meeting where the officials and public representatives discussed the issue.
The capital's drainage system is mainly managed by the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa). While Wasa oversees the storm drainage pipelines, canals, and box culverts, the city corporations look after open drains and small-diameter pipes.
Addressing the meeting, Annisul again termed the city's drainage system a "cancer patient", and said Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan should rather give them a healthy drainage system.
But the LGRD minister said as public representatives, the mayors should take over drainage management; if they did, his ministry would give all-out support. Then Annisul said, "I am positive about it."
Experts and officials have blamed lack of coordination among seven agencies, which manage the city's inadequate storm water drainage system, for waterlogging in the capital. One agency hardly knows about what the others are doing, say officials.
At the meeting, the ministers, mayor, and top government officials also said all the surviving city canals must be freed from encroachment and cleared of solid wastes at any cost to ease waterlogging. “Household wastes which remain uncollected go into the canals and water bodies and create barriers in the flow of rainwater,” said LGRD Minister Mosharraf.
He said though there was a drainage master plan of Wasa, an integrated master plan was needed incorporating all the new areas of Dhaka city to solve the problem.
Housing Minister Eng Mosharraf suggested dredging of all the rivers around the capital to increase their water carrying capacity and demolishing of all illegal structures on them.
Water Resources Minister Anisul said illegal structures from the city canals would have to be removed at any cost; if it was done, these would not be encroached in future.
Prof Mujibur Rahman of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) said the government should take an initiative to make the total width of a canal 60 metres -- 20 metres for the channel and 20 metres each on both banks for road or footpaths -- so that it could not be encroached again.
Urban expert architect Iqbal Habib said besides protecting the canals, the Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) would have to protect the flood flow zones under the Detailed Area Plan to solve the city's waterlogging problem.