Dhaka city map changed radically after the 1990s because of unplanned urbanisation particularly the establishment of high-rise buildings and embankments in different parts of the city blocking the natural water flow. It is learnt that Hatirjheel once linked with the Buriganga and the Shitalakhya and the same was true for the canal in Motijheel, and both canals were once used to be water routes for the dwellers of surrounding areas. Though Hatirjheel has survived with the ‘blessings’ of the authorities concerned, the appalling condition of the canal of Motijheel is worth highlighting. What was once a pristine lake, named as “Matimia’r Jheel”, has now been turned into a pond with dirty water.
Though the jheel is about to die with just about one acre area, it is still offering service to the people. Mojheel goers till date use the pond as a shortcut way of reaching the financial hub, which reveals the prospects the jheel has to offer.Hatirjheel is a remarkable example of reviving an almost dead water-body by giving a new lease of life along with beautification. If, Hatirjheel can get such a treat, why the canal in Motijheel would not? Being located in the financial hub and just behind the head office of Bangladesh Bank, the jheel demands more attention to get her life back and beautification as it would offer a sense of relief to the people passing hectic time there.
It is cliché mentioning the sorry state of canals in the capital but, there is still no alternative to do so as water-bodies of a city are commonly compared to blood circulating veins of the human body. The dying of these water-bodies causes the death of the city. Dhaka’s rank in the worst city to live in says all about it.
Therefore, the authorities concerned should take a concrete long-term plan with the mindset of quick implantation of those plans. Earlier many projects have been undertaken bringing no visible change with the fate of these water-bodies along with water-logging suffering city dwellers. But the city, according to many foreign city planners, has all the potentials to be transformed into a city like Venice. Thus all we need is our heartiest effort to reach that level.