Negligence of the authorities concerned, political influence are behind the rules violation and canal grabbing, speakers said
Dhaka has been facing massive water-logging as around 96% of buildings in the capital have been constructed through a violation of rules and grabbing of water-bodies and canals, according to panellists at a policy dialogue.
The said the negligence of the relevant authorities and political influence were behind the rules violation and canal grabbing.
Urban development Journalists Forum Bangladesh (UDJFB) organized the dialogue, entitled “Drainage Management and Canal Improvement in Dhaka”, at CIRDAP auditorium in Dhaka on Saturday.
Speaking as the chief guest on the occasion, Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Md Tajul Islam said public organizations as well as private ones were to be blamed for violating rules during the construction of buildings.
“We have taken initiatives to rescue canals from grabbers despite their influence. The Dhaka city mayors are strictly progressing the canal rescuing activities,” he added.
The minister referred to the current situation of encroachment and lack of accountability of the authorities concerned. In particular, he mentioned allegations of bribe-taking against Rajuk officials.
Tajul Islam said: “Someone constructed his building by encroaching on the canal. He also changed the record of the land and legalized his illegal activities. These issues are not so easy to solve.”
“Drainage networks were built to clear 50mm of rainwater. But in September 2004, maximum 341mm rainfall was recorded. Although experts were consulted before the construction of the drainage network, now they are saying it was unplanned,” the minister said.
“It will not bring any fruitful results if we are criticized generally. We have to plan together in a comprehensive way,” he told planners, engineers and architects present at the event.
He said: “We plan to transform Dhaka like Venice by developing its canals and water bodies.”
The minister also unveiled 'Dhakai' magazine at the event.
Akhter Mahmud, president of Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), presented the keynote speech while Iqbal Habib, joint secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa); Adil Mohammad Khan, secretary of BIP; and M Inamul Haque, chairman of Institute of Water and Environment spoke at the seminar.
Architect Iqbal Habib said: “Money and technical manpower need to be transferred to city corporations from Wasa. All kinds of waste management need to be linked with drainage and canal management activities.”
Adil Mohammad Khan suggested the inclusion of technology to monitor canals.
“One can see where and when encroachment is happening and can be stopped in a second. However, the authorities are not interested in using technology,” he said.
Shohel Mamun, secretary of UDJF, moderated the dialogue while the forum’s President Motin Abdullah presided over the program.
Among others, Md Shahidullah, panel mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation, Abul Kashem, president of the canal improvement committee of Dhaka North City Corporation, senior journalists Amitosh Paul and Helemul Alam spoke at the event.