Protesters gathered in front of the Wasa building on Tuesday to press home their demand for clean water supply
Meeting protesters in front of the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) headquarters, Dhaka Wasa Director (Technical) AKM Shahid Uddin on Tuesday said the water supply agency would take necessary steps to remedy supply of contaminated water in the city.
A family of three from Jurain, joined by two others from Rampura area, staged a protest in front of Dhaka Wasa building on Tuesday.
Speaking to the protesters around 1pm, the Wasa director then said he was sending officials to Jurain immediately to check the pipelines.
He also said the reasons behind the alleged contaminated water may be the old pipelines. “We will gradually replace the old pipelines with new ones,” he added.
Shahid asked the Wasa customers to call at 16162 if they face any problems with their water supply.
He further added that the recent spike in diarrhoea occurrences was not Wasa’s fault.
“When the temperature rises up to 37°C, production of bacteria increases. This leads to cases of diarrhoea,” he said.
The protesters gathered in front of the building at 11pm to protest – in a unique way – against a comment made by Dhaka Wasa Managing Director (MD) Taqsem A Khan, who recently said the utility company supplied 100% drinkable water – they took position to serve a glass of the “drinkable water” to the MD himself.
The Wasa chief, however, was unavailable at the time to prove himself right.
Police first barred the protesters from entering the Wasa building, but later let them in to talk to the officials in the afternoon.
Mizanur Rahman, a resident of Jurain said they had hoped to meet the Dhaka Wasa MD at 12pm. But when they were not allowed to enter, the protesters sat on the front steps of the building.
“The water we get in our water reservoir from Dhaka Wasa is the same as the water we see in the drains,” Mizanur, a social worker, told Dhaka Tribune. “He [Taqsem] said Wasa water is drinkable. That is why we brought it for him to drink.”
Mizanur informed that the people of Jurain area collected the signatures of residents and submitted them to Wasa in 2012, urging the water supply authority to remedy the problem, but they did not receive a positive response.
Wasa started supplying water to the Jurain area around 40 years ago, Mizanur said.
“However, for the last few years, the supply water has been totally unusable,” he claimed.
He also voiced some of the local demands, including Taqsem A Khan's resignation as MD and his apology, reimbursement of bills paid by consumers for using what they termed “waste water,” and no billing until customers get drinkable water.
In response to the Wasa director’s claim that the key problem might be in the supply pipelines, Monirul Islam, another protester who came from East Rampura, said: “We fully reject this comment. Does bad smell come from the pipes? We invite him to have a meal with us that will be cooked with Wasa water. He has to eat it with his nostrils closed; that is our demand.”