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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Corruption in WASA crosses all limits

THE Anti Corruption Commission has identified eight projects and three areas in Dhaka WASA where corruption takes place. The State enterprise keeps extending deadlines and increasing the costs of its projects to create room for corruption. In many cases, WASA did not carry out its work as per project designs and specifications, wasting money and resources. Even, contractors get paid on stipulated time though they rarely meet project deadlines. Apart from its failure in maintaining drainage system, the WASA has recently criticised for supplying undrinkable polluted water to the household.
A project was taken up on November 22, 2012, to reduce dependency on groundwater in the Mirpur area. Under the Tk 521 crore project, 46 wells, two iron removal plants, and 48.78km of supply lines were to be installed by June 2017. A reservoir was to be built and 7.81 hectares were supposed to be acquired. But on March 29, 2016, the project cost was increased to Tk 573 crore and the deadline extended by a year. Until December 2016, the project made 46.72 per cent progress but WASA paid its contractor 54.75 per cent (Tk 313.71 crore) of the cost mentioned in the revised detailed project proposal.
The ACC also found irregularities in WASA's Interim Water Supply Project, which started in 2015 and yet to be completed though its deadline ended in 2018. It found no progress in the work of WASA's Saidabad Water Treatment Plant Project Phase-III worth Tk 4,597 crore project started in 2015. The Padma Water Treatment Plant Phase-1, which was started in 2013 with the target to finish it in 2018, remains much behind the schedule. Poor progress was found in the Dhaka Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply Project work too. The ACC also found that corruption and irregularities took place in the selection of consultants and contractors, and during revenue collection and overtime bill disbursements.
A 'culture of corruption' has been developed in every department or organisation of the government where the corrupt officials are enjoying impunity even if they are caught red-handed. We know, corruption has an interlink with poor service delivery which results in consumers' sufferings. What's most annoying is that WASA has crossed all limits.