Water-logging in the capital
Friday, 18 July 2008

A section of real-estate developers, govt employees responsible

Adviser CS Karim, on Monday expressed his government's inability to tackle Dhaka's fast intensifying water-logging problem without the help of the residents. 'Everything is being occupied gradually and we do not know whether it is a curse of development or a curse of unplanned urbanisation,' he remarked at a public forum. While confusion over this issue may linger for unknown reasons among those in power, it is clear to us that it is millions of ordinary working class people who live along the periphery of the capital who are the worst sufferers as a result of water logging. It is their movements and lives that are hindered by waist-deep stagnant water which eventually become sources of disease which in turn can cause further financial damage to such families. Any development process that results in deterioration in the quality of life of the majority of a populace is not really development, after all. Over the past decade, the residents of Dhaka have seen this metropolis grow dramatically, and have powerlessly looked on as the Dhaka City Corporation and Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha have evidently sanctioned exceptions to almost every principle of urbanisation to the highest bidders. Experts have repeatedly pointed out that the private sector satellite townships that are cropping up in Dhaka's northern and eastern boundaries are seeing natural water drainage areas land-filled, with the authorities turning a blind eye, reportedly with handsome payoffs in their pockets. While non-government organisations have tried time and again to block these illegal townships through court orders and public advocacy, a section of the top brass at Rajuk and the city corporation who had approved these plans remained beyond accountability and punitive action. It is not Dhaka's poor who are land-filling large swathes of the low-lying drainage areas on Dhaka's periphery, it is a section of real-estate developers in collaboration with government employees.

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