Kutubkhali canal on death throe | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 12, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 12, 2010

Kutubkhali canal on death throe


Encroachment and waste dumping suffocate the Kutubkhali canal. The photo was taken at Jatrabari. Photo: Anisur Rahman

Unabated encroachment and continuous dumping of solid waste into the Kutubkhali Khal in Dhaka have put the canal in a very sorry state.
Around 200 illegal structures have been constructed on the canal stretching from Chittagong Road to Dholaipar.
The canal, which is now 10 to 12 feet wide, was around 80 feet wide in the 70's and was linked with the Buriganga at Sadarghat. Now the water in the canal is blocked at Dholaipar Bazar.
Waterlogging has become a serious problem for the people living near the canal as even the lightest of showers causes waterlogging. The locals blame this encroachments and dumping of waste in the canal.
Abdul Mannan, a resident of South Jatrabari, said around 2,500 students of Jatrabari Madrasa get trapped in the madrasa after a moderate raining as one to three feet deep rainwater surrounds the institution.
Belayet Hossain, a resident of South Jatrabari, said illegal structures constructed on the canal are demolished every two or three years but they are rebuilt within days of the eviction drive.
He claimed that parts of South Jatrabari and Kutubkhali remain under two to three feet of rainwater for about 10 days after a half-an-hour of rain.
Residents of the area dump their kitchen and other waste into the canal clogging it even more, said Mahmud, another resident of Kutubkhali.
Belayet said no waste collection measure has been taken by the Dhaka City Corporation in the area and locals hire vehicles to collect waste, which is also not very regular.
The clogging of the canal has intensified the menace of mosquitoes in Kutubkhali and South Jatrabari, said a local tailor.
He said, "We started dumping rubbish in front of our shop to prevent waterlogging about 20 days ago."
It stopped waterlogging in front of the shop but other places are still inundated as of May 25 even though it rained a week ago.
Omar Faruk, another resident of Kutubkhali, said authorities concerned that clean up the canal keep sludge on the bank instead of removing it, which washes into the canal again.
Additional Chief Waste Management Officer of the DCC Dewan Md Shah Alam said they do not collect waste from at Kutubkhali area as it is out of the jurisdiction of the DCC but they do collect waste from a portion of South Jatrabari.
Manzur Morshed, executive engineer of division-1 of Bangladesh Water Development Board, said they have taken a project worth around Tk 380 crore including setting up four new pumps and excavating 94km of canals to reduce waterlogging in the DND area.
The Kutubkhali canal runs through the Dhaka-Narayanganj-Dhaka (DND) area. The excavation of the canal will also be done under this project, he said.
Other components of the project include, constructing 145 box culverts and repairing 9km long floodwall, he said.
"We have been preparing a Development Project Proforma for the project, which might be submitted within a week," said Manzur, adding, "We will be able to start work from August or September if we get the approval of Ecnec [Executive Committee of National Economic Council]."

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