Solution to water stagnation in the Chtitagong city remains elusive when most of the city areas go under water even after a brief shower and the water lies stagnant because of poor drainage.
The recent downpour, like the previous ones, sent the low-lying city areas including Halishahar Housing Estate, CDA Residential Area, Agrabad Residential Area, Bakalia, Muradpur, Bahadderhat, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, Chaktai-Khatunganj under ankle to knee-deep water.
The city mayor, M Manjur Alam, told New Age that the recent water stagnation worsened further because of flash flood accompanied by tidal surge.
He also blamed the falling navigability in the River Karnaphuli and the city canals for the persisting water stagnation.
Terming it a longstanding problem, Manjur said solution to the problem would not be possible overnight. ‘We can only reduce the problem to a tolerable limit,’ he said.
The hills of Chittagong city are sandy and the downpour washes down the sand and household garbage to the canals.
River Karnaphuli, canals including Chaktai and Mahesh have to be dredged to get rid of the problem, observed the mayor.
According to sources in the Chittagong Development Authority, a plan namely ‘Chittagong Storm Water Drainage and Food Control Master Plan’ was adopted by the authority in 1994.
But even after 17 years, the plan has not yet seen the light of the day, the mayor said.
AKM Fazlullah, managing director of the Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, said there should have well coordination among all stakeholders including CWASA, CCC and CDA.
A project titled ‘Chittagong Water Supply Improvement and Sanitation Project; has been adopted by the CWASA, he informed, expressing hope that water stagnation in the city would be reduced to a great extent after the implementation of the project.
The CDA chairman, Abdus Salam, suggested that to address the problem new canals should be excavated.
‘More than 50 per cent of the Chaktai canal, the major carrier of city wastes into the river, has already been grabbed,’ he said.
Salam, however, avoided talking about the present state of the city drainage master plan.
‘Only approving building plans has become the sole business of the CDA,’ said architect Zerina Hossain, vice-president of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan, adding that the number of water bodies, which retain most of the rain water, has reduced to a great extent.
There is no research and integrated plan to address city water stagnation while everything is done on an ad hoc basis, she added.
‘Chittagong city can boast of wonderful natural drainage system. It is the only city where there are hills, forest and sea. But it is a matter of regret that the city is fast losing its natural drainage system for inadequate maintenance of canals and drains. The authorities concerned should take precautionary measures before the advent of rainy season. Besides, the city dwellers should not throw their household wastes into the drains,’ said Rashidul Hasan, lecturer in the department of urban and regional planning at the Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology.
-With New Age input