PM tells of plans to solve water, power crises | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 16, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 16, 2010

PM tells of plans to solve water, power crises

Lays foundation of Sayedabad water treatment plant-2

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the government has undertaken a 'mega-plan' to ensure adequate water supply, apart from power generation, not only in Dhaka city but also across the country.
She said this yesterday while addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Saidabad Water Treatment Plant Phase-2.
The premier noted that the population of Dhaka city is increasing rapidly, but growth in services and infrastructure for the citizen could not keep up with that pace.
“That's why new problems are arising in the scenario here,” she said.
The premier said she is aware of the twin utilities crisis, but was quick to abdicate her government of all responsibilities. She repeated her claim that the previous BNP-led 4-party alliance and then the caretaker government during the emergency should bear responsibility for these problems.
“The problems we face could not have been solved in just 15 months, and the people of the country know that very well,” she said.
Regarding the opposition's threat of forging a movement agitated by the utilities crisis, Hasina said, “My government in 2001 left with 4000 MW being generated, how come it is still languishing in that position? The 4-party alliance and caretaker governments have to answer this question. If there is any movement spurred by the water and power crisis, it should be against them.”
Hasina reiterated another claim that her government has taken short, medium and long-term steps to mitigate the twin crises.
The PM said upon completion of Phase II of the Saidabad Water Treatment Plant, there would be an additional 22 crore litres in the water supply and all the water would have come from surface sources, which she particularly emphasised as important in nullifying dependence on underground water.
Completion of Phase III of the plant, which starts later, would add 45 crore litres to the country's water supply, she mentioned.
Hasina deplored the fact that the level of ground water is deepening day by day and over dependence on underground water increases the risk of a more damaging earthquake.
The premier drew a grim picture of the ponds, the beels and the canals having disappeared. “This is an area of grave concern for us,” she said.
She asked the ministries and authorities concerned to do their utmost in reducing the dependency on underground water and starting to use surface water more.
In this connection, she said that as part of her government's mega-plan, there will be water treatment plants in Pagla or Keraniganj and in Khilkhet.
Hasina also asked to pay extra attention to neutralising human waste before releasing them into the rivers around Dhaka city.
Criticising factory owners who had not set up effluent treatment plants (ETPs) in their factories for their ignorance, Hasina was convinced they would not install the ETPs on their own initiative.
“Rather, the government can set up the treatment plant for them and force them to discharge their chemical waste through it.”
The PM reaffirmed her government's stance towards recovering the rivers in and around capital Dhaka from illegal occupation and freeing the rivers from pollution.
“If we can just move forward with the right purpose, we will be able to use the waters of the Buriganga again.”
Hasina also revealed a plan to bring water into the rivers around Dhaka city to maintain a continuous flow of water in these rivers.
Continuing on the country's problems with water, Hasina said that rain water should be better utilised, and Dhaka WASA should take the lead by adopting some projects that are aimed at realising this objective.
The Danish government has provided Tk 774 crore as grant for the Saidabad Water Treatment Plant's Phase-2, for which the overall cost is estimated at this early stage to be Tk 1140 core.
Apart from visiting the project area, the PM unveiled the foundation stone.
LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Syed Ashraful Islam presided over the ceremony while State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Jahangir Kabir Nanok, Dhaka WASA chairman Dr Engineer Golam Mostafa and Danish Ambassador Einar H Jensen, among others, spoke on the occasion.

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