Unplanned urbanisation, waterlogged cities

Update:

With roads being dug up for repairs on one side and water-logging on the other, the sufferings of Dhaka city dwellers is beyond words. A few days of rain have led to such water-logging in the city, even a town surrounded by rivers shouldn’t be in such a situation. As for the port city Chittagong, people are using boats to commute on the roads. Similarly, the cities of Sylhet, Khulna, Bogra and elsewhere are also flooded. And yet the authorities hardly seem to be thinking of any permanent solution to the problem.

Monsoons have always brought torrential rains to this land of a thousand rivers. The capital city Dhaka used to be crisscrossed with canals and lakes, and of course, rivers all around. Even in the most torrential rainfall, the city never experienced water-logging. The water would automatically drain away. But with rapid and unplanned urbanisation, the canals, lakes and other water bodies have been filled up, with no alternative drainage systems. Whatever drainage system is in place, is not even maintained properly. This is not just in Dhaka, but in Chittagong and most of the other cities in the country. Yet each of these cities have municipal authorities.

Dhaka WASA admits that their drainage system is inadequate. They are referring to the use of pumps to drain out rain water. But it is only natural that the people will suffer I a city does not have a system of natural drainage. Drains need to be increased in number. The drains have to be cleared regularly and not just only during the rainy season. The authorities have to do this, but the people have to have awareness too. The people and the authorities need to work hand in hand to ensure proper waste disposal in order to keep the drains clean. This applies to Dhaka and the other cities as well.

An accurate, long-term and sustainable plan is needed to tackle the problem of water-logging. If urbanisation continues in this unplanned manner, then Dhaka, Chittagong and the other cities will be unfit for living. So when it comes to construction, focus must be in drainage. This calls for expansion of infrastructure and regular maintenance. The forcefully occupied canals, streams and other natural water bodies must be restored.

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