Slum people pay 10 times more to Wasa cheats
Five million poorest slum dwellers in the capital pay 1o times more than the official price of Dhaka Wasa water, said its former managing at a discussion yesterday.
Bangladesh Water Integrity Network organised the discussion on transparency and integrity in water supply in Dhaka city at Bangladesh Institute of Administration and Management in the city’s New Eskaton.
People in the slums have no legal water supply connections and some unscrupulous middlemen collect water from legal connections to sell it in the slums, said Dr Khondker Azharul Haque, former managing director of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa).
A middleman makes a monthly profit of Tk 40, 000 with a single illegal line while Dhaka slums have thousands of such unauthorised water connections, he told the meeting.
The water supplier suffers 30 percent production loss every year and one percent of the loss costs the company a damage of Tk 4.5 crore, said Azhar.
Metre tampering by dishonest customers with the connivance of corrupt Wasa employees is one of the key reasons behind the huge production loss, popularly known as system loss, he pointed out.
The former MD attributed Wasa’s defective supply system to corruption in project implementation and service delivery and lack of competent manpower.
He suggested ensuring oversight and effective autonomy to make Wasa a transparent service provider.
Dr M Inamul Haque, executive director of Institute of Water and Environment, said Wasa had to supply 2100 million litres of safe water for 21 million people in a 360-square kilometre area of Dhaka and Narayanganj cities.
Its treatment plant at Pagla of Narayanganj can treat only eight percent of 2 million cubic metre of human sewage generated by the residents of the two cities daily, he added.
The rest of the sewage is directly released into water bodies through wetlands.
Quamrul Alam Chowdhury, deputy managing director of Dhaka Wasa, said 88 percent of the organisation’s total production comes from 621 deep tube wells while the rest comes from surface water.
Pollution in the rivers around Dhaka, lack of Wasa’s sewage treatment plants and septic tanks at private houses remain major obstacles to shifting to surface water sources for producing water, he mentioned.
Water Resources Minister Ramesh Chandra Sen said his ministry is carrying out a 162-km river dredging project from Jamuna to Dhaleswari to increase the flow of water in the Buriganga, Turag and Bangshai rivers.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, moderated the discussion.
-With The Daily Star input