Mayor Atiqul also sought control over WASA’s existing manpower, physical infrastructure and all ancillary equipment for maintaining canals and drains
Dhaka North Mayor Md Atiqul Islam has proposed that the management of Water Supply and Sewerage Authority's (WASA) drainage circle in northern part of the capital be handed over to the city corporation.
He also sought control over WASA's existing manpower, physical infrastructure and all ancillary equipment in the Dhaka North circle for maintaining all canals and drains in the area.
The mayor made the proposal on Saturday to Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Md Tazul Islam during the inauguration ceremony of an excavated canal from Ashkona Hajj Camp to Bonorupa Housing, built to ease the waterlogging issue.
Besides, Atiqul Islam proposed building a cycle lane from Kuril Bishwaroad to the airport.
The Dhaka North mayor said, "The WASA is responsible for maintaining the canals and drainage system under the district administration, but the city corporation has to listen to the suffering of the people.
"Mayors and councilors are accountable as public representatives. But WASA does not have to be accountable to the people."
He continued, "Under the circumstances, I am proposing that Dhaka WASA hand over the existing manpower, vehicles, equipment, and canals and drainage management of its circle to the Dhaka North City Corporation to help ease the suffering of the city dwellers."
The mayor added that he visited the waterlogged area adjacent to the Ashkona Hajj Camp with Minister Md Tazul Islam, senior secretary of the Local Government Department, managing director of WASA and civil aviation authorities on April 21.
Atiqul stated, "The Dhaka WASA and Civil Aviation Authority were called upon to excavate various parts of that canal to resolve the severe waterlogging issue in Uttara Sector 4, Kasaibari, Ashkona, and Kawla areas. But sadly, both organisations expressed reluctance.
"Later, the Dhaka North and Bangladesh Army jointly excavated the 1.90 km long canal to complete the work in the shortest possible time to alleviate the long-suffering of the people in the area."
The Dhaka North and Bangladesh Army started excavating the canal on May 30 and completed the work on Friday.
Since the last month, Dhaka North's development programmes have been focused on three major issues – curbing the Covid-19 pandemic, controlling the mosquito population to decrease the possibility of another dengue outbreak, and solving the waterlogging problem by cleaning up water bodies and sewerage systems.
The city corporation has been spraying disinfectant liquid on major roads, sidewalks, foot over bridges, quarantined areas, important hospitals, and open spaces since the beginning of the pandemic.
Dhaka North's Public Relation Officer ASM Mamun said, "Till June 16, we have sprayed around 89 lakh litres of disinfectant liquid in areas under the city corporation. We are conducting many programmes as part of handling the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Those programmes include – setting up hand-washing booths; cleaning hospitals; distributing bleaching powder, hand sanitiser and soap; raising public awareness; ensuring social distancing and quarantine measures; conducting mobile courts to control commodity prices; and setting up booths for collecting samples to diagnose Covid-19 patients."
Dhaka North has kept the East Rajabazar area under lockdown since June 10. "Besides, the process is on to lock down 17 more red zone areas in the capital," Mamun said.
On June 6, the city corporation also launched a 10-day expedition against the mosquito menace. It inspected nearly 134,135 buildings in 10 areas of the capital and fined them Tk21.85 lakh during anti-mosquito drives.
After taking over the Dhaka North City Corporation office, Mayor Atiqul Islam also started the on-demand bicycle sharing service Jobike, in the streets of Dhaka, to help people maintain social distancing measures during the pandemic.
There are some 100 bicycles parked at 22 points in Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara, and Niketan under the pilot programme.