‘I am taking such master plan so that the water goes down even if it rains day and night’

Shahjahan Molla, Senior Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
ছবি: বার্তা২৪.কম

ছবি: বার্তা২৪.কম

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When it rains, water logging occurs in the capital. Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) is working on a 30-year master plan to solve this long-standing accumulated problem. However, in addition to the long-term master plan, short and medium term plans are also underway.

What is the plan to remove water logging? Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation, has answered many such questions in an exclusive interview with Barta24.com.

The Mayor said no one has a magic wand, no Aladdin's lamp. But I can say that we did not waste any time. From the day 1,I got the responsibility, I have been working relentlessly with utmost devotion whose benefits the city people have begun to receive.

Barta24.com: Water logging is happening in the capital whenever it rains. What are your plans for resolving these long-standing sufferings?

Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh: Local Government Minister Tajul Islam took note of the long neglected issue as I and the Mayor of North City Corporation were vocal in resolving the issue. And he got the canals from WASA because he made the right decision at the right time. Then we started working immediately. So far about 10 lakh tons of silt and waste have been removed under Dhaka South City Corporation.

We have taken up the task of cleaning the drains, branches and internet that we have received from Dhaka WASA. In the meantime, the people of Dhaka have started reaping the benefits of the canals and box culverts that we have cleaned. Drainage takes much less time than it used to. You have noticed that in spite of 111 mm of rain in Dhaka a few days ago, the water of Dhaka city has gone away in three hours. This is because the water is getting a place to flow or drain out. If we can clean the drainage network, drains, then it will get more benefits. But that is not the solution. The solution is long term.

Barta24.com: What is the long-term plan to eliminate water logging?

Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh: We are preparing a master plan. Through which we want to increase the capacity of Dhaka city based on the record of maximum rainfall and historical information so that even if there is maximum rainfall, the water goes down quickly. The highest rainfall so far in Dhaka city is 333 mm. So if there is 333 mm of rain in Dhaka city or 24 hours of rain all day and night, then after that rain the water does not stand on the surface, even if it takes a while so that it can go underground and be drained from there, I am developing the infrastructure. . Because the population of Dhaka city will increase, Dhaka city will improve, housing will increase, pressure will increase so we don't want to do something like that now 5 years later the same problem exists again. So, if we create maximum capacity under the long-term plan, it will benefit the people of Dhaka for the next 50 years. With that goal in mind, I am making a long-term plan under the master plan.

This will definitely require funding. We will seek funding from the concerned ministry. If we get money, we will take up those activities, but we are not sitting still now. We have undertaken short term work. We are cleaning all the canals so that the capacity we have now can be used properly. As part of the medium-term work, where there is no connection of infrastructure or it has been damaged, many of WASA's inter connected drains have been broken and we are working as needed to replace them where I will give as applicable.

Barta24.com: When will the people of Dhaka get the benefits?

Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh: In the meantime, we have taken a project worth around Tk. 105 crore which we have completed the tender processing with our own funds. Work is in progress. There will be more work next year. I have set aside Tk. 50 crore with my own funds. Maybe if this work is done, it will cost another Tk 50 crore. I will do it with my own funds. So the people of Dhaka will get benefits if they can complete short-term-medium work. Our target is to drain out the water within three hours in case of heavy rains, 2 hours in case of heavy rains and 1 hour in case of moderate heavy rains. Then the water logging will be at a tolerable level. But that is not the solution. This is a medium term activity. The solution will be if we can do long term activities properly and want to start that work.

Barta24.com: What is the deadline for implementation of the master plan?

Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh: We are working under a master plan. We are planning for 30 years. We will finish the work under what we want to leave Dhaka city for 30 years.

Barta24.com: If there is heavy or moderate rain this monsoon, will the city dwellers drown in the water again?

Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh: Look, no one has a magic wand. Aladdin doesn't even have a lamp. The people of Dhaka will also realize that. But I can say that we did not waste any time. I have been working relentlessly with utmost devotion since the day I got the responsibility. Our initial task was that there was no access to water down to the mouth of the river, so we went inside to clean those places. There is now a sewerage network in Dhaka that we have found is closed, broken.