Tuesday, September 29, 2020

WASA must ensure supply of clean water for Dhaka dwellers

THE level of mismanagement, inefficiency and corruption in WASA's handling of water supply and sewerage in the capital has been greatly exposed. Despite implementation of many projects costing hundreds of crores of taka over the years, Dhaka city dwellers in many areas are still living with dirty and foul-smelling water, facing acute shortages of drinking water, being deprived of access to sewerage networks and encountering water-logging.
Instead of accepting the responsibility and attempting to alleviate the sufferings of the city dwellers, WASA Managing Director Taqsem A Khan, who has been at its helm for 11 years, has continued to deny. It was alleged that the mismanagement and corruption in this service organisation have been allowed to run rampant.
According to a report published in a national daily on Monday, the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has blacklisted three companies -- Jahan Enterprise (Jaha), Paruma Engineering Works (Paruma) SA Enterprise (SAE) - for three years due to their fraud and irregularities. But these companies are still trying with the higher authorities to get work order of around Tk. 400 crore of WASA's Water Supply Network Improvement Project. The owner of the companies, Ahsan Habib Lenin, who is also Chairman of Nilsagar Group, was reportedly involved in the BASIC Bank loan fraud. He also took part in WASA's tender recently using different fake strategies.
As reported, the three companies earlier got work orders of two projects worth Tk. 800 crore. The first one has been completed while the other one is underway. Now the contractor of the project is allegedly using different tricks to increase the cost of the project. Despite huge spending, why are Dhaka's residents still forced to wade through knee-deep water during monsoon season, and ration water in certain areas due to limited supply?
Ministers are changed, but the WASA's MD remains in the same post for more than a decade. Since Awami League assumed power in 2009, two LGRD Ministers completed their terms while the third one is serving. But, there had been no change in the post of WASA's managing director. How was it possible?
 As we do not have an accountable government we do not care what they do but the WASA must serve the people and ensure clean water for Dhaka people.