We are quite taken aback by the remarks of the Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister at a seminar where he has said that the waterlogging situation was much worse in expanding cities like Kolkata and Mumbai, compared to Dhaka. After going through a terrible bout of water logging following incessant rains in Dhaka and Chittagong recently, city dwellers of the two cities will not be amused by such unsympathetic words.
Why should the LGRD minister cite worst case scenarios in other cities? Why not give examples of cities that have addressed the waterlogging issue with efficiency and have actually solved it? Giving examples of how bad the situation is in other mega cities will hardly solve the problems in one's own cities. It goes without saying that every time there is a downpour in either Dhaka or Chittagong, main thoroughfares and alleys become completely inundated wreaking havoc on city life. The suffering of citizens is widely known especially through pictures and videos in the media as well as the low turnout in offices, schools and other institutions.
Aside from continuous rainfall, there are many manmade reasons for our waterlogging. Canals and streams have been indiscriminately encroached upon so there is nowhere for the excess water to flow into. Drainage systems have not been maintained properly or expanded to meet the needs of a growing city.
It is these manmade impediments that need to be removed to make sure that rains, which are inevitable in this region, do not paralyse the cities the way they do now. We happen to be living in Dhaka, not in Kolkata and Mumbai. And if we are going to compare ourselves with Kolkata and Mumbai what about all the other noteworthy characteristics of these cities such as a sane traffic system, basic security, efficient public transport and other urban facilities that those city dwellers take for granted? Why not compare with the best and emulate them?