Tuesday, 28 September, 2021

Unable to remove waterlogging!

In Bangladesh, the port city of Chattogram is undoubtedly the oldest city that still survives and continues to grow geographically and economically. Its importance and contribution to the national economy can hardly be exaggerated. This beautiful city conveniently located on the bank of a clean water river and amid hills and hillocks by the seashore was known to the Arab merchants in even the remote ninth century AD. In 1552 the Portuguese chronicler De Barros praised this city as 'the most famous and wealthy city of the kingdom of Bengal…'

But Chattogram city has now lost that fame. Due to its haphazard and unplanned expansion and inefficiency and mismanagement of the city authorities, waterlogging has become a permanent feature of this city during rainy seasons. With rains of any intensity, the streets and lanes of the city go under waist to chest deep water. A set of photographs on the front page of this daily yesterday spoke volumes about the waterlogging situation even in the commercial hub of the country’s business capital. We harvest the benefits of this city but have obviously forgotten our obligation to keep the city liveable.

The same is the situation with the country’s capital. Even a drizzle for a short while is enough to send its thoroughfares under stagnant water. One of the reasons why the founders of Dhaka chose this place is that this convex shaped land was crisscrossed by a large number of natural canals that allowed rainwater drain down quickly. As long as this natural drainage system was not grabbed and clogged, waterlogging was an unknown phenomenon to the city dwellers.

With the progress of time, the whole world is advancing in terms of science and technology. We are also doing so but in certain arenas, we are running on reverse gears; instead of developing our cities in a planned manner, we leave them to their own fate. Hence, there are the cities – dirty, polluted and drowned in foul smelling stagnant water. We can send satellite to outer space, build bridge over the mightiest river and dig tunnel beneath another but cannot keep cities clean and free from stagnant water. We deserve pity.