Dhaka, Bangladesh
Waterlogging: What happens if two tigers live in one jungle?

Waterlogging: What happens if two tigers live in one jungle?

By Mir Abdul Alim

Our cities get inundated in water. The ruling party only thinks when the cities remain submerged in water and boats are run through some roads of the cities. And their thoughts remain continuous for several days through the meetings of different organizations. The sessions of the city corporations, WASA, gas department, power station, road segment and political meeting are organized one after another. Different plans are made for the removal of waterlogging. But what happens for this? In rainy season, the water of the cities does not come down if it rains. Rather this water increases every year. When the water in the city of Chittagong remained knee-deep, there this water is waist-deep now. In the Matijil industrial areas & Shanti Nagar, we, the inhabitants of Dhaka have seen boats to be run in this season. The country people have also witnessed this sight of running boats through newspapers. In fact, it is not done thus. The thoughts of water extraction should be taken collectively. One of the most important reasons behind the suffering of the people and waterlogging is the lack of consolidation among the city-corporation, gas department, road segment & power station. It is said that "Two tigers should not live in one jungle." How many leaders should have there in a city? All are performing their deeds as to their own willingness from their respective places. The road sector constructs nice roads and after some days WASA pipes are set up through digging these roads. Roads are also dug as the power station drives wires through the digging. On the other hand, the department of gas is highly setting forth the tender of setting up gas pipes. All are exercising their power as to their own willingness throughout the city. And it is only possible in this country. In many countries in the world, the whole task of urbanization is accomplished by the city governments. The city government! What is that? Many of us do not have any conception about this as there is hardly any exercise of it in this country. The city government means the power of a single political person of a city. The task of setting up the WASA pipes, providing electricity and constructing roads will be individually accomplished by the allusion of the city governments. There are vindications of such urbanization done with good management in the neighboring country India. So, why can we not do this? For this, the government, local administration, the local government, WASA, etc. along with our city corporations have liabilities. Now the main talk is that there is no such integration among these organizations. That is why the city government is indispensable. Discussion about forming the city government in the capital Dhaka & the port city Chittagong is held. But it falls on deaf ears to the corresponding people. Only discussion over the fact is held; but none think of it. The present suffering of the people and the matter of waterlogging will come to an end under the leadership of the city governments. We don't see any alternative instead of forming the city government. The helm of all's involvement as leaders in a city should be changed. Few days ago, I have heard the message of distress from our mayor Anisur Haque in a function of our Lions' Club held at a five star hotel in the capital. He said, "I can't do all what I want." There is no unification in anything. So, we want the city government. If it is formed, the waterlogging of roads & streets will come down and the roads will not remain broken any longer. Because of incongruity between one department and another of the government, the capital Dhaka goes under water if it rains little. Boats are run through the roads of the submerged port city Chittagong. City life becomes stagnant in little rain. There are traffic jams along with the waterlogging in the city. Can the city life run in this way? It does not matter if it is the month of Ashar or Baishkah, but Dhaka goes under water due to waterlogging. Even Chittagong also remains flooded. So, where is our reliance? Will waterlogging be removed from these two cities at all? At present there are three very famous city fathers in Dhaka & Chittagong for serving the people. What are the city fathers doing for the removal of waterlogging? This waterlogging will exist no longer if planned urbanization is taken into account, if the canals of the cities remain occupancy-free. We often come to know such speeches, but no result appears in reality. The Dhaka North City Corporation as well as the Dhaka South City Corporations has started constructing drainage system anew. The waterlogging of the capital Dhaka may decline somewhat if the drains are excavated by planning. In addition, there are enough canals in the capital Dhaka and Chittagong; but they have no existence now. Even the city dwellers do not know where the canals are! These canals have been occupied long before. For this reason, waterlogging has turned into their fate. The public life in the diligent capital Dhaka & the second import city Chittagong has become stagnant for little rain. For this, the city dwellers are not only undergoing indescribable suffering but also it is causing damage to their business & trades. This situation has been running for years. The inhabitants of these two cities have been given the messages of hopefulness for about the last one and a half to two decades. But there we find no effectiveness of such messages. There is no other way left to consider this waterlogging by detaching it from the reality of the whole country. So regarding the overall situation of the time it is undeniable that the present situation of these two important cities is agitating. We do expect that the supreme policy makers will consider the fact with special significance and they will also take rigorous steps to abate the sufferings of the city dwellers permanently. We, the people who reside in cities are not also cautious. Almost all of us know less or more about the causes responsible behind waterlogging. We also understand, even notice them regularly. But none of us are careful of this. As a result, it is seen that people still throw dust & rubbish in polythene bags on roads through the windows of their houses at night which get stuck in the drainage pipes as well as in the canals resulting waterlogging beyond description during rain. For this, different complexities are created by having the natural flow of water stopped. The materials made from the constructing buildings can be considered as another cause of waterlogging. Most of the time, it is seen that the materials for contrasting buildings are kept on roads. Then people construct buildings taking the materials from there. The rainy season appears as a season of untold suffering for the people of Dhaka & Chittagong. The two city corporations in Dhaka and the Chittagong City Corporation along with the Chittagong Development Administration have not taken any cordial steps to reduce waterlogging bound suffering of the city dwellers yet. Rather the promptness of these serving organizations is making this waterlogging chronic. The people of Chittagong elected the BNP candidate Majnu with many suffrages in the mayor election before with a view to being relieved from this waterlogging related suffering. But he could not succeed in removing this waterlogging oriented trouble. Besides, the present mayor Nasir has been elected under the banner of Awamileague. He has also passed two years of his serving; but no apparent advancement is being noticed. For this reason, the city dwellers have to undergo huge suffering even provided it rains little. In fact, because of the failure of the Chittagong City Corporation & the Chittagong Development Administration the widen areas of the port city have gone under water during the first rain of the upcoming rainy season. The lanes of Chittagong including the main roads have been under knee & waist-deep water for heavy showers of rain. According to the published news of the newspapers, waterlogging has been created in most of the parts of the port city Chittagong for continuous heavy rainfall. Almost all the roads of the city have gone under rainwater. Almost all the roads have knee-deep water. Some areas have been submerged in waist-deep water. The ground floors of many flats as well as a number of shops in many areas have been flooded. For this, the city dwellers have fallen in extreme suffering. The Chittagong Development Organization and the Chittagong City Corporation cannot avoid their liabilities to this. The main causes of their suffering are unplanned urbanization of the city, not to reform the canals & drains of the city corporations when necessary, and the failure in removing the filth from these canals & drains. There are 16 main drains in the city of Chittagong for the extraction of rainwater. But most of the important parts of those drains have illegally been occupied. Besides, these drains have not been reformed and dug timely. Though some canals had been broken up, their soil was kept on their banks. Afterwards this soil again fell into the canals excavated with the rainwater. Apart from this, many drainage sewers and canals in the city have been filled up for the construction of undeliberate flyovers. No reformation of the old drainage sewers is seen yet. Buildings & shops have been built filling up many water receptive ponds. As a result, rainwater cannot move. And such sudden public suffering during heavy rain has been brought into light not for having any management of moving water easily. This public suffering would not have been created if the waterways remained open. The corresponding organizations including the Dhaka City Corporation and the Chittagong City Corporation have no chance left to pass by their liabilities over the above mentioned situation. We do think that this situation has been made due to the poor condition of water extraction. On the other hand, the competition of occupying sewers & canals of the city has been added to the illegal occupancy and the filling up of the ponds & cisterns, rivers & canals. Besides, different parts of the main canal Chaktai in Chittagong have been seized by the land grabbers as well as they have been filled up with dirt& rubbish. Further, the environment destroyers poly-bags have spread all through the metropolis not for having any stern obstruction over the use of the ban declared polythene bags at present. And these polythene bags interrupt water extraction by filling up the sewerage canals. The concerned people of the Dhaka & Chittagong city corporations too did not perform their duties in cleaning up the drainage sewers. For their negligence, different parts of the cities are drowned in little rain. Then man falls victim to ineffable suffering. Thus the loss is done to the wealth of billions of dollars. Now the questions are - Why are any effective initiatives of the concerned not holding our attention in spite of having acute & huge public suffering due to malign waterlogging? Why have any effective initiatives not been taken to put the water drainage system of the city in motion? What do the concerned people including the two city corporations in Dhaka & the Chittagong City Corporation and CDA think of this fix? Some canals are still there in Chittagong which can probably be mobilized if they are dug again. The situation can be changed if the people in authority think of the drainage system. The absolute wealth of Dhaka, the four rivers are on the edge of destruction for pollution & occupancy. The number of canals, ponds & water vessels has come down quickly for the unplanned extension of Dhaka. As a result, problems are increasing. There are examples of good drainage systems & saving the rivers in many countries after urbanization. So, why can we not do this? For this, the government, local administration, local government WASA and other organizations along with our city corporations have also their own accountabilities. But there is no adjustment among these organizations. Discussion on forming the city governments in Dhaka & Chittagong is of a long period of time. But the city governments are not being formed. By forming the city government the problems of the citizens including the question of waterlogging of all the cities can be resolved. But it is gradually becoming next to impossible for the lack of kindness of the political leaders. So, the question comes as to the dream of water extraction will come tangible or not at all. It is our belief that the dream will absolutely come true. For this, all sorts of powerlessness must be restrained. Planned urbanization must be upheld. The rivers & the canals must be kept occupancy free. Thus it is possible to remove the problem of waterlogging of the cities. And if the city fathers keep their look on this, then it is possible to make it happen easily.

Share |