Heavy rains combined with traffic congestion brought the capital to a grinding halt on Wednesday as city dwellers went through untold sufferings to reach their destination wading through knee- to waist-deep water. The story is the same in Chittagong where the situation is so bad that waterlogging in the past couple of days has the streets resembling lakes with people commuting in boats.
Waterlogging is nothing new of course but residents of Dhaka and Chittagong have reached their limit. Additionally, this year the rainfall was excessive. But the problem is not rainfall alone; it is the dysfunctional storm-water drainage management system in both the cities. This is the result of rivers, canals and other water retention areas being filled up in the name of development and clogged with solid waste making it nearly impossible for the rainwater runoff to go anywhere. Tinkering with nature will invite its wrath, each time with greater vengeance.
WASA, the two city corporations, Water Development Board, and all the other authorities responsible for providing a well-managed network of storm-water drainage system must immediately end the blame game and come together to address issues such as expanding pumping facilities and clearing the canals. The illegal grabbing of water retention areas also needs to end and for that we need an effective monitoring system in place.
Furthermore, experts' suggestions and the Detailed Area Plan (DAP) need to be implemented without any political favour so that whatever is left of our water bodies can be salvaged. Although we are heartened by the comment of the LGRD and Cooperatives Minister that there will no longer be any waterlogging from next year, we cannot help but say that we have heard such platitudes before. The only way to gain public confidence is by delivering results.