In the last six years, 5 thousand 790 crore rupees have been spent, but the waterlogging of Chittagong city has not been resolved; Rather it has been revealed. Now new areas are getting flooded. Again the water is accumulating for a long time. The city is submerged at least 8 to 10 times a year due to heavy rains.
Waterlogging in Chittagong City is a long-standing problem. Funding was once blamed as one of the reasons for not solving this problem. But now that problem is not there. Even though a huge amount of money is spent, the city dwellers are not getting the benefit. In this situation, City Corporation and CDA are blaming each other.
At least 50 areas were flooded in two phases last Friday and last Saturday. In some areas, water remained stagnant for 9-10 hours. Even the mayor of the city corporation. The courtyard of Rezaul Karim Chowdhury’s Bahaddarhat house and the front road were also submerged. On Friday, the mayor had to enter the house by rickshaw. Many could not even open shops in waterlogged areas.
So much cost but no benefit
One project of City Corporation, two projects of Chittagong Development Authority (CDA), and one project of Water Development Board worth Tk. Even after spending 5 thousand 790 crore rupees in the last six years, the city dwellers are not getting any benefit. Although these projects are supposed to be completed in June of next year, they are not happening. The concerned engineers said that the period will be further extended.
The city corporation has spent 1 thousand 175 crore rupees on digging a new canal from Baripara in Bahaddarhat to Bolirhat. Although approved in June 2014, the company is yet to complete the project.
CDA took up a project of Rs 5,616 crore to eliminate waterlogging. In August 2017, it was approved by Ekne. Work begins next year. 3 thousand 18 crores have been spent so far. With this money, 36 canals have been cleaned of garbage, and retaining walls, new drains, bridges, and culverts have been constructed. Apart from this, five water closets have been started.
CDA is implementing another project of 2 thousand 779 crore rupees for the construction of roads along the Karnaphuli River. So far 1 thousand 500 crores have been spent on this project.
Under this project, sluice gates were to be constructed at the mouths of 12 canals connected to the river to deal with tidal flooding. But till now 10 infrastructures have been completed but they are not operational. Among these are the Chaktai and Rajakhali canals, the main means of drainage of the city. Experts commented that the waterlogging of the city due to the non-operation of water taps due to rain and tidal water has intensified.
Apart from this, the Water Development Board has not yet completed the water treatment works at the mouths of the city’s 23 canals connected to the city’s Karnaphuli and Halda rivers. 97 crores have been spent so far.
Blaming each other
The city corporation and CDA are blaming each other for the waterlogging problem of Chittagong City. Chief Engineer of City Corporation Rafiqul Islam told Prothom Alo, CDA can tell why waterlogging is not being resolved. Although the CDA has apparently removed embankments from the canals, soil still remains. It is obstructing the flow of water. They could not even finish the water closets.
However, the lieutenant colonel and project director of the army’s 34 engineer construction brigade is not willing to accept the demands of the city corporation. Shah Ali At Prothom Alo, said, they have removed all the dams from the canal; Rather, the city corporation is working by damming drains and canals in many places. And the issue of tidal flooding is not in their hands. CDA is implementing another project in this regard.
Endless suffering in the flood
Chittagong received 33 mm of rain from 9 pm yesterday to 9 am today. Chittagong Meteorological Office assistant meteorologist Ujjwal Kanti Pal said it will rain for two more days.
Due to the rain since night, water accumulated in various areas of Chittagong city including Chawkbazar, Boubazar, Muradpur, Bahaddarhat, Khaja Road, Faridar Para, Khatiberhat, Baroi Para, Kharampara, Baklia, Chaktai, Chandgaon, Agrabad. A few areas have been explored, some knee, some – or ankle water.
Because of that waterlogging
A four-member committee was formed last year to investigate the cause of flooding in Chittagong. Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) chief engineer Kazi Hasan bin Shams was made the head of the committee. The committee identified several causes of waterlogging. These are excessive rains and high tides in the Karnaphuli River during a full moon, reduction in the circumference of canals, encroachment of city canals and drains, dumping waste in canals and drains due to ignorance and not removing soil from canals and drains regularly.
Talking to the concerned engineers, it is known that four projects are being worked on at a cost of 10 thousand 921 crores to solve the waterlogging of Chittagong city. CDA, Chittagong City Corporation, and Water Development Board (PUBO) are implementing these projects. The organizations could not complete a single project on time. The term is repeatedly extended. Civil society and common people are angry about this.
The 5 reasons identified by the committee for flooding in Chittagong city are excessive rainfall and simultaneous high tides in the Karnaphuli River during a full moon, narrowing of the canal due to the presence of soil in the ongoing part of the canal renovation work, encroachment of the city’s canals and drains, dumping of waste in the canals due to ignorance of the citizens and regular canals. – Do not lift the soil from the drain.