Dhaka residents are being exposed to a nightmare on its water logged streets that is claiming innocent off late – electrical cables at large on the submerged streets of Dhaka on a day of incessant rain and water logging.
On Thursday, the authorities recorded 64 millimeters of rainfall in the capital, this year’s highest, while also recording the deaths of two pedestrians – Awlad Hossain, 35, and Mohammad Shahin, 32 – in the capital’s Bangshal area. The two were electrocuted to death as they unwittingly came in contact with the loose ends of live electrical cables submerged in the accumulated water.
Abdul Kuddus Fakir, officer-in-charge of Bangshal Police Station, told the Dhaka Tribune that Awlad, a resident of Bangshal, and Shahin, a resident of nearby Malitola, were both street vendors.
Their bodies were kept at the Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital for post mortem.
Just as in the case of large- scale loss of lives in the Rana Plaza collapse and the Tazreen factory fire, in the case of these two vendors too, the authorities are to be blamed.
Locals and witnesses held that the negligence of the authorities concerned had eventually led to the deaths.
They said the government never took care of the drainage system, which results in the severe water logging in the city streets after just a few minutes of rain. They also slammed the electricity authorities for not taking care of the loose live cables.
As the rainy season approaches, the various utility supplying authorities get proactive and start digging the roads and streets, leaving big holes and ditches uncovered and turning the roads into death traps for the residents, locals said.
Professor Nazrul Islam, chairman of City Research Centre, said although rainwater is a natural resource, the capital, unfortunately, did not have enough space to hold water even from just a few minutes of rainfall.
The water logging was not only disrupting the lives of city dwellers; reports of death from electrocution by underwater live cables had also been on the rise in recent times, he added.
Prof Nazrul feared that situation in the city would only worsen if the authorities concerned did not take the necessary steps immediately.
Not just Bangshal, almost the entire downtown area of Dhaka went under water during the incessant rains of yesterday morning.
Among the uptown areas of the capital, many parts of Green Road, Dhanmondi, Asad Gate, Shyamoli, Iqbal Road, Indira Road, Razabazar, Shahjahanpur, Fakirerpool, Shantinagar, Malibagh, Nayapaltan and Motijheel remained under almost waist-high water for hours.
Due to the public holiday on the occasion of the Buddha Purnima, regular office goers were spared the trouble of traversing waterlogged streets to make it to work.
Most businesses and shops, especially the temporary ones on the roadsides, were kept closed due to the rain that started with daybreak.
A Met office bulletin said a trough of low pressure triggered the heavy rainfall over North Bay of Bengal.
Nurul Huda, chairman of Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk), told the Dhaka Tribune that the fact that the rainwater did not have anywhere to run into because the water bodies in the capital were already overflowing, resulted in water logging.
More spaces must be created for rainwater to run into in order to solve this problem, the Rajuk boss said.
Rahmatullah, chairman of Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa), said proper coordination among all government organisations, annual planning and joint implementation is needed to get rid of the capital’s water logging problem.
Chief City Planner of Dhaka South City Corporation Shirajul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune that the corporation would welcome all kinds of cooperation from its associates and invited their participation in the planning activities.