The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has taken over the maintenance charge of drainage system from Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) and vested the authority in two Dhaka city corporations, citing the reason that the Wasa had failed to properly take care of the canals.
Addressing a joint meeting between different government stakeholders at the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) office in Gulshan on Sunday, Local Government Rural Development and Cooperatives (LGRD) Minister Khandkar Mosharraf Hossain said they had taken the move with an aim to recover Dhaka’s 26 canals from grabbers, which are a crucial part of the drainage system.
The maintenance responsibility of the canals had been lying with the Wasa for years though they are owned by the office of the Dhaka deputy commissioner.
DNCC Mayor Annisul Huq presided over the meeting attended by Housing and Public Works Minister Mosharraf Hossain, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, Lawmaker AKM Rahmatullah and Dhaka Wasa Managing Director Taqsem A Khan.
“Wasa has been unable to resolve Dhaka’s water-logging crisis. So, the responsibility should be vested in public representatives as they are well informed of the people’s needs,” the LGRD minister said.
“The projects taken earlier did not succeed in effectively addressing the water-logging problem. Therefore, all bodies including the two city corporations, Wasa, Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha, Water Development Board and Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation will have to engage in collaborative work and devise a master plan to resolve the problem,” he added.
Earlier, calling the Wasa a failed organisation, Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Mohammad Sayeed Khokon slammed its authorities for their failure to address the problem.
Dhaka used to have 65 canals that drained rainwater away to surrounding rivers including the Buriganga, Turag and Shitalakhya. But the number has come down to only 43, with the other canals being grabbed. And, the existing canals are, too, falling prey to illegal encroachment, Wasa officials said.
The government in September 2008 approved a project titled “Dhaka Water Supply and Sanitation Project” in a bid to reclaim the canals.