First day of the month of September will be remembered by Dhaka residents for a long time. Incessant rainfall paralysed all major and minor roads in the city for hours on end. Knee-high to chest-high waters on some of the busiest roads, not to mention the lanes and by-lanes, added to the troubles of commuters who simply didn't have the option to stay at home. Vehicles were seen stranded for hours on end in all localities as roads had become unnavigable. People not fortunate enough to own vehicles or even two-wheelers were the worst affected. Rickshaws plied blindly through murky waters, often overturning with passengers when landing in the potholed roads which had become submerged. The water had turned stinky as the sludge from the open drainage system had come to the surface.
This was the state of the city on September 1 and all this due to one hour of heavy rain. City planners have a lot to answer for. Expert suggestions on not filling of dedicated water retention areas and flood flow zones to help real estate companies do their business were ignored when finalising the most recent Detailed Area Plan (DAP) of Dhaka city. According to Dhaka WASA authorities, at best there is 22 percent storm sewer coverage of the 360-sq km area that WASA serves. And Dhaka covers an area of 1,528 sq km. The situation will only deteriorate with time unless authorities take immediate measures to protect natural canals and flood plains from unscrupulous developers and land grabbers.