The residents of 18 new wards of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) fear that they will face severe waterlogging in the upcoming monsoon like the past as the civic body is yet to develop the drainage system and improve the battered roads in the areas.
They said most of the roads and low-lying neighbourhoods of the areas go under water even after a brief spell of rain, which causes immense suffering for them and throws the normal life into total disarray.
DNCC has not carried out any infrastructural development and improvement work to address the problems of the residents of these wards since they were incorporated in the city corporation.
As a result, the old roads and inadequate drainage system continue to be the reasons of woes for the residents.
In July 2020, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a Tk 40.25 billion project to develop 183 kms of roads, construct 234 kms of drainage line and excavate 28.51 kms of canals in the 18 wards.
During a recent visit to wards 38, 39, 40, 44, 48 and 49, it was found that the residents of the areas have already been suffering from waterlogging.
It was also seen that most of the roads are narrow, uneven and battered while drainage lines are broken and many lids are missing.
Roads under ward No. 39, including the one stretching one and a half kilometres from Nurerchala Bazar to Sayeednagar via Purobi Prangyan, are lying severely damaged with potholes and broken slabs of sewerage lines everywhere, causing untold suffering for the local residents.
Residents of Vatara said the road from Notun Bazar to Solmaid has turned into a water basin as it goes under waist-deep water after a light shower. Even, in the pre-monsoon period, people are now suffering on the road.
Yeasin Rana, a resident of Ainusbagh of Dakkhinkhan, said most of the roads in their area have remained battered and rainwater accumulates on those.
“When it’s a little rain in our area, it causes a big pain for us as we can’t step out of our homes. Rainwater enters different low-lying neighbourhoods for lack of a drainage network. But the city corporation turns a deaf ear to our problem.”
“The road in front of our councillor’s house is battered, uneven and always remains under water as it has no drainage network. He always uses Mollah Bari to Nagar Bari road. And if this road remains in the shape, anyone can guess the true picture of the rest of the roads.” He demanded immediate solution to the problem before the monsoon arrives.
Talking to the Daily Sun, DNCC councillor from ward No. 48 Md Ali Akbar said he was helpless and facing tremendous pressure from voters as the city corporation could not solve the problem of the residents. “I can’t narrate people’s suffering in words. We couldn’t start the development work on roads and drainage network for fund crisis. It’s very sad news for us.”
Councillor from ward No. 52 Faridur Rahman said, “My ward is comprised of low-lying areas. Most of the roads in Baunia, Tafalia and Ahalia go under water after rain. Now, we’re trying to drain out the water in RAJUK ponds as a temporary solution.”
He, however, blamed the previous chairmen of Harirampur Union Parishad for the problem.
Talking to the Daily Sun, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said the development work could not start due to fund crisis.
He also said, “The development project for the wards is worth Tk 4,000 crore but we’ve got only Tk 80 crore. It’s not possible to start the work with the fund. We’ve already borrowed Tk 220 crore so that we can start our work very soon. I hope we’ll get a big amount from the government after the upcoming budget.”
“The lack of drainage network in the new wards is the major problem and we can’t create the network overnight. As a short-term measure, we’ll allocate a petty amount for having some repairing work in the areas where the problem is severe. But it won’t resolve the problem permanently,” he added.