Initiatives to remove waterlogging

Kailash Sarkar

The Dhaka City Corporations and other authorities concerned have taken initiatives to free all the blocked city canals and also develop a modern drainage system in a bid to solving the waterlogging and drainage congestion problems in the capital. Among the major decisions, the authorities would soon start work on freeing all the major city canals to restore the natural flow of the accumulated waters on the roads through the canals. The authorities also plan to launch special drives to free the canals from illegal encroachments where necessary.

Once the canals are freed they would be linked with surrounding rivers to keep the waters flowing all the time as had been the case originally when there were over 60 canals in the city all connected to the rivers like Buriganga, Balu and Turag. The city suffers from devastating water-logging and drainage congestion every time it rains for a while. Low-lying areas get inundated as the drains are blocked. If rain continues, other parts of the city also begin to go under water thus often forcing traffic movements to come to a standstill.

As the natural canals, like the Dholaikhal, Hatirjheel and Motjheel gradually lost natural flows the situation turns worse because there is no process that can allow drawing the congested waters out from inside the city. The surrounding water bodies and low-lying areas like Ashulia and Rampura have also disappeared making it even worse.

Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam told Bangladesh Post, “We are taking initiatives to design and implement a modern drainage system to address the ever-growing water logging problem in the capital.” “Several projects have been taken to recover a total of 24 identified canals in the city. All the illegal structures constructed on or surrounding the canals would be evicted or if necessary demolished,” Islam said

He added, “We intend to restore the natural water flow of the canals which we believe is the key to freeing the city of water-logging. A separate project would be implemented soon after recovering the canals and to construct a modern drainage system which would link the canals at certain points so that waters from the roads recede immediately.”

According to the city corporation officials, the condition of at least 13 canals is said to be worst as they remain blocked with tons of garbage thrown in the open canals. The Dhaka WASA authorities, in the meantime, have allotted Tk 40 crore for removing the garbages from those canals and also cleaning them. The Dhaka WASA authorities said that they had demanded Tk 60 crore but got the allocation of Tk 40 crore instead.

According to the history, once the city had 65 canals. Till 1985, there were at least 50 canals and at present, the total number of existing canals is 36, which also remains in very poor conditions. The sources also said that there were 43 canals in the municipal area, of them, 26 were maintained by the Dhaka WASA authorities, and nine of them have been turned into box-culvert and sewerage lines, while the rest of the eight were maintained by the district administration.

According to the map prepared by the Dhaka District Administration, the flowing canals include the Noli canal, Dwigun canal, Kalyanpur canal, Merul canal, Dumni-Kanthaldia canal, Kamrangirchar canal, Begunbari canal, Mokhakhali canal, Gulshan canal, Guler canal, and Nasirabad-NigurEpaid canal. Haikker canal, Rayerbazar canal, Kalunagar canal, Rajabazar canal, Dhanmondi canal, Paribagh canal, Merqadia-Gozaria canal, ZoarShahara canal, Dumnicanal ,Bauther canal, Nasirabad-Nandi canal, Dakkhingaon canal, Arambagh canal, Gopibagh canal, Dhalpur canal, Dhola canal, Jatrabari-Matuail canal, Manda canal, Zia Saroni canal, Shyampur canal and Kadomtoli canal are also part of the previously existing canals.