Amid growing criticism for failing to implement his electoral pledge of resolving the waterlogging problem in Chittagong city, AJM Nasir Uddin completed his second year as its mayor on Tuesday.
His second-year anniversary as the mayor came at a moment when an effective measure to address the long-running water-stagnation still remains a far cry.
When asked to evaluate the performance of AJM Nasir, the immediate past city mayor M Manjur Alam said it would be too early to make any comment since the incumbent mayor only completed his second year in the office.
“Nasir is still in the first stage of his mayorship. It will be appropriate to assess his performance after the mayor completes the next stages,” Manjur said.
Claiming to be aware of Nasir taking a number of projects to address the problem, the former city mayor said his sincerity in resolving the problem will be proven once all the projects are implemented.
Engineer Subash Barua, vice-president of Forum for Planned Chittagong, said it was not possible to singlehandedly resolve the problem unless there was coordination of all government agencies.
“The port city's waterlogging problem can not be mitigated only through undertaking big projects like installing pump houses or sluice gates. Canals should be excavated regularly, and illegal structures encroached upon the canals' banks should be removed to help drain out storm water easily,” Barua said, adding that around 30% of areas of the city get inundated during the rainfall.
Dr Anwara Alam, former principal of Agrabad Women College, said the water-logging problem keeps paralysing civic life every time it rains.
However, things started to worsen in recent years, she said.
“I have not witnessed such a high level of water even during the floods of 1991. We want to get rid of the persistent problem without delay,” added the educationist.
In a recent programme held on the perennial waterlogging problem in the city, AJM Nasir termed the crisis a solvable one.
“I am not sitting idle and am trying my level best to fix the problem. A good number of projects have already been undertaken to bring the perennial water-stagnation down to a permissible limit,” he then claimed.
The Chittagong City Corporation, he said, has spent Tk16 crore in the last fiscal year for the excavation of the city's canals and drains.
“We have already floated a tender of Tk18 crore for clearing the canals,” said the CCC mayor.
While presenting his 36-point manifesto outlining the plans to make the city a green and digital megacity, AJM Nasir on April 2, 2015 unveiled his election manifesto prioritising his promise to solve the waterlogging problem.