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HC dissatisfied over Wasa’s failure to examine water

  • Published at 03:13 pm May 13th, 2019
Water
Four out of 10 zones under Dhaka Wasa contained notable levels of arsenic, ammonia, chlorine and bacteriaCollected

The court asked the LGRD Ministry to submit a report about testing costs by Wednesday

The High Court has expressed its dissatisfaction with Dhaka Wasa for failing to examine water in 11 zones of the Dhaka and Narayanganj city corporations. 

The bench of Justice JBM Hasan and Justice Justice Md Khairul Alam expressed its dissatisfaction on Monday, during a writ petition hearing.

The High Court had earlier ordered Dhaka Wasa to submit a report about the cost to test the water of different areas falling under the 11 zones of the city corporations.

Following the court’s order, Advocate Tanvir Ahmed submitted a report before it in the morning along with a report published by Dhaka Tribune.

According to Advocate Tanvir’s report, the water supplied by Wasa to 16 areas of Dhaka— including Jurain, Pallabi, Mirpur, Mohammadpur and Postogola—is unusable.

However, Dhaka Wasa failed to submit the report during the hearing on Monday and sought seven-days-time from the High Court.

During the hearing, the court asked Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Ministry to submit a report by Wednesday, regarding the cost to test the water in 11 zones. 

While talking about the cost, the bench asked the authorities concerned to obtain 22 bottles of water from 11 zones for the testing.

How much time does Wasa need for water testing?

On May 8, the High Court sought information about the areas of Dhaka that Wasa is supplying with contaminated and unsafe water.

Earlier in the day, Dhaka Wasa submitted a report to the High Court — as per its earlier order.

The same day, Dhaka Wasa formed a four-member committee to examine the quality of the water it supplies. 

The committee comprises experts from: the LGRD Ministry, the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Dhaka University (DU), and the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B).

In the report, Dhaka Wasa said it will get water samples examined at DU, Buet, and ICDDR,B laboratories after acquiring the necessary funds from the government.

Wasa also said in the report that it will take at least four months to get the water tested at the three labs.

How drinkable is Wasa’s water?

In a report in April, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said 34.5% of Dhaka Wasa consumers complained of poor quality water throughout the year. The report went on to say that people have to burn Tk3,32.37 crore's-worth of gas every year to boil Dhaka Wasa water in order to make it consumable.


Also Read- ‘Wasa needs to ensure clean water supply to halt diarrhoea outbreak’


Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Taqsem Khan has categorically denied the charges, claiming the water is 100% drinkable, but failed to respond to a much-publicized demand for him to drink lemonade made with Dhaka Wasa water.

According to the report, a stunning 51.5% of all Dhaka Wasa consumers in Dhaka reported their water supply was visibly filthy, while 41.4% complained their water smelled terrible. 

Poor water quality all year round was reported by 34.5% of Wasa users. Water quality was reported to be the poorest in summer with 62.1%, followed by 59.6% in the monsoon, with only 7.5% complaining of poor water quality in winter.

Consumers demand resignation of Wasa MD

On May 7, Advocates of safe water have called for the Dhaka Wasa to take responsibility for the quality of water it supplies, following a myriad of complaints by angry consumers from around the city about a dirty supply water.

The platform, named Wasa Nirapod Pani Andolon, announced a five-point demand, including clean water to be supplied everywhere; compensation for people who have fallen sick consuming dirty water; reimbursement for bills paid for polluted water; an investigation into Wasa's inefficiency; and resignation of Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan if he fails to fulfil his responsibilities.

The speakers also demanded that the Dhaka Wasa MD apologize for issuing a false statement regarding the quality of water.

The High Court, on November 7 last year, formed a five-member committee to examine the quality of water supplied by Dhaka Wasa.

The court also issued a ruling asking the relevant government authorities to explain why their failure and inaction to supply safe water should not be declared illegal.

The High Court bench delivered the rulings following a writ petition filed on October 14, 2018, based on a report published in a daily newspaper.