Shahana Begum was cooking for her family standing knee-deep in water at the kitchen of her house.
The house in Adarsha Nagor of DND area has been inundated for over a month. Only the beds, raised two feet by bricks under its legs are dry. But after last week's heavy rains, the beds are only a few inches above the water level.
"My toes remain wrinkled all the time and my feet keep itching when I get on the bed to dry them," said the middle-aged woman.
Neighbourhoods of Adorsha Nagor, Shahid Nagar, Delpara, Nurbag, Bhighar, Tushardhara, Zero Point, Saddam Market, Doulatpur and Munshibagh in the DND area have been suffering severe waterlogging for the past few weeks. Thanks to the waste dumped in the open by nearby textile dyeing factories, the water invading people's homes is of a dark hue, often covered in white foam.
Locals and experts attribute the stagnant water to blocking of the canals that were supposed to take the water to the Shitalakshya river. They said several lakh residents of the neighbourhoods were affected by this.
In some places, land grabbers have simply filled the canals up while mindlessly-dumped solid waste restricts the flow of water in others. The water flow has been blocked intentionally for fish farming. In short, most of the canals have been rendered useless.
Residents of most of the neighbourhoods have been in the same predicament for the last 10 years.
According to the Water Development Board, there are 93.98km of canals in the DND area. But during most part of the year they cannot carry the water to the river.
Officials of the Board said the embankment along the Shitalakshya also blocked the canals mouths in the DND area. To take the water across the embankment, a pumping station at Shimrail with four pumps was built in the 1960s.
But the underpowered pumps cannot transfer the water quick enough, which is another major reason for the continued waterlogging.
Meanwhile, Shahana's daughter Shumi Akhtar, a college student, has to go to her classes wading knee-deep water every day.
“I go to my classes in drenched clothes, which is really humiliating,” she said.
Every year, thousands of residents of the DND area suffer due to a lack of proper pumping stations and active canals, and most importantly, failure of the authorities concerned to take long-term measures to improve the situation.
Badsha Mia, a resident of Adorsha Nagar said, “There is a canal connecting Shahid Nagar and Adorsha Nagar, but encroachment near Tushardhara area blocked the flow of water, causing waters to remain stagnant in the two neighbourhoods.
“There was no stagnant water in our area only five years ago. But now we have to suffer like this for almost half the year,” Badsha said, adding that cleaning up the canals could have eased their sufferings.
Moinuddin, another resident of the area, said several hundreds low-lying plots were being used as fish farms, choking the canals. His doctor said his feet were sore from being in the water all the time.
Abdul Awwal, project director of a Tk 558.2 crore Development of Drainage System of DND Areas project, said they had taken up a four-year scheme to solve the problem. He hoped that the work would start in November.
The components of the project include excavating 93.98km canals, constructing 13.5km walkways, setting up two pumping stations at Shimrail and Adamji Nagar and three pumping plants at Pagla, Shyampur and Fatullah.
Referring to the project, Narayanganj City Corporation Mayor Selina Hayat Ivy recently said the woe of people of the area may last for another year, our Narayangaj correspondent added.