Water crisis plagues Shahjadpur, Bhatara | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 01, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 01, 2012

Water crisis plagues Shahjadpur, Bhatara


An underprivileged child collects water from a leaking hose of a Dhaka Wasa tanker supplying water to an affluent citizen's building, inset, yesterday in the capital's Khilbaritek of Shahjadpur, an area suffering from water crisis for the past one month. photo: Palash Khan

Acute water crisis has gripped several thousand residents of the capital's Shahjadpur and Bhatara as Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) supply pipes have been running dry for the last one month.
Out of three water pumps providing for the area, two have gone out of order while performance of the third has dropped by two-thirds, said the Wasa officials.
“We are working to replace a pump at Natunbazar by October 20,” said Wasa Assistant Engineer of Zone-8 Abul Bashar, adding that the replacement would reduce the crisis to a large extent.
Work to replace the second pump at Nure Salah will start within a few days and take around 45 days to complete. The last one, the performance of which has dropped, needs to be replaced too, he added.
Residents of Batargali in Shahjadpur of Gulshan and Nure Sala and Khilbarirtek in Bhatara said they were depending on other sources for water, like purchasing bottled ones, though it was very inadequate to meet daily needs.
“Now I have to routinely fetch two pitchers of water on my shoulder from a relative's house some half a kilometre away,” said a Batargali resident, Shafiqur Rahman.
Another resident, Kanij Layla, said she was now taking her baths after every three to four days as the water tankers of Dhaka Wasa arrive some three to four days after they have been paid for, even if the officials have been bribed.
“Since September 1, I have already spent Tk 11,000 in purchasing bottled water and water from the tankers,” she said.
Abdul Kashem, a businessman of Khilbarirtek, said he was forced to close his dyeing factory due to the water shortage and this has caused him to experience a financial crisis.
“I have been borrowing money, Tk 60,000 to be exact, from friends and relatives to provide for my family expenses,” he said.
Though Dhaka Wasa officials claimed that water tankers, around 25 every day, were immediately being provided on demand in crisis-hit areas, most residents said they had to wait for over a week after applying for it.
Moreover, a section of employees and officials of Wasa Zone-8 were charging double or even more for the water tankers and carts.
Officially each water tanker, with a capacity of around 5,000 litres, costs Tk 500 while the smaller water cart, with a 3,000-litre capacity, costs Tk 300.
If the officials are provided Tk 1,000 or more, the water tankers come earlier, probably skipping others in queue, said a resident of Khilbarirtek, Abdul Baker.
Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan said he had asked the zonal authority of Wasa to increase water supplies to the area through water tankers, even if it means bringing the water from other areas.
Bashar, on the allegation of some officials taking bribes from residents, said they received no complaints from the residents over the allegations till date and so could not take steps against those who were allegedly involved.
“If we find anybody involved in taking money illegally, we will immediately take action,” he said.

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