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Two city corpns busy restoring Dhaka canals

Published : 04 Mar 2021 09:41 PM | Updated : 05 Mar 2021 01:08 AM

Dhaka North and South City Corporations have been working hard to restore the canal system of Dhaka city. 

After being entrusted with this task of reviving all canals in Dhaka city on January 1, both the city corporations are currently taking steps to help the canals of the city get their former glory. 

Dhaka WASA has been supervising the canals of Dhaka since 1988 as a total of 26 major canals in the city were under WASA’s authority. DNCC and DSCC have taken the charge of these canals as all of them are facing extinction. Initially, the authorities have taken a plan to rescue and restore the canals with the manpower of WASA.

According to a 2020 survey from River and Delta Research Center, 73 canals exist in Dhaka city. Though the Dhaka district administration in 2015 reported that 58 canals were identified in the city limit, almost all of the canals lost their flow due to constant pollution and some are completely filled due to land grabbers and occupiers.

Chief Executing officer of DNCC Md. Selim Reza told The Bangladesh Post that more than 9,500 metric tonnes of waste have been removed from Ibrahimpur canal, Shagufta canal, Godagari canal and other fourteen canals from January. DNCC is currently prioritizing to reduce hassles of the city dwellers in the next monsoon by clearing most of the canals’ debris.

“We are currently moving forward with three stages of plan--short-term, medium-term and long-term for Dhaka’s drainage system. Dhaka North City Corporation is currently working on storm water release system, rescuing canal land from occupiers, marking proper borders for the canal with the help of Dhaka District Administration. By coordinating with various agencies, we are also working on Fecal Sludge Management (FSL) and removing solid layers of waste from the canal surface”, he added.

Many dead canals are being brought back to life by the initiatives of the City Corporations. “To bring back the water flow, we are conducting drives and figuring out ways to connect most of the canals to the surrounding rivers of Dhaka to ensure constant water flow. As most of the plans are being made, we hope to carry out these steps soon”, he said. On what should be done to stop occupying the canal, Md. Selim Reza said permanent embankments and walkways could be a viable solution. After marking the proper border, DNCC will take necessary steps to stop land grabbing around the canals. 

To prevent pollution, he said, DNCC will take steps to make sure that the sewerage waste line would not be connected to any lakes or canals.  Both city corporations are currently working on a plan to install biological treatment plants in households. As this will take a long time to adopt that process, currently cleaning of the canals and lakes by creating more waterway services and walkways around the lakes is the primary target. 

Dhaka South City Corporation is currently working on Manda, Jirani and Shampur canals. They have also started working on Panthapath box culvert to remove solid waste from the area. Considering Dhanmondi Lake as a canal body, they are also working on connecting Dhanmondi and Hatirjheel Lake by clearing Panthapath box culvert. It’s a challenging project as there are 7 to 8 layers of solid waste  in the channel, said Chief Waste Management Officer, Air Commodore Md. Badrul Amin of DSCC.

DSCC this year also plans to work on the ancient Buriganga channel, to inter-connect many canals to the river and increase water flow in the Buriganga all around the year. The water transportation system can also help to keep the canals clean – hoping that the City Corporations plan to make the canals wider.