Monsoon brings waterlogging misery to Dhaka's Dakshinkhan

The monsoon has added to the woes of pandemic-stricken residents of Dhaka's Dakshinkhan as the rains have swamped most of the area due to the lack of a proper drainage system.

Obaidur Masum Senior
Published : 22 June 2021, 08:30 PM
Updated : 22 June 2021, 08:31 PM

The roads in Gawair's Majhibari and nearby areas are submerged in knee to waist-high water. To avoid getting wet, locals are commuting by boat while others are taking rickshaws.

Most of the ground floors of multi-storey houses have been flooded by rainwater. But some of the old semi-concrete houses have been hit hardest, with the water inundating kitchens and toilets, much to the dismay of residents.

The situation has caused many to leave their homes while there has also been an exodus of tenants from the area.

Aggrieved by the situation, Dakshinkhan resident Abdus Salam and a few others went to the local representatives to seek a remedy to the long-standing problem. But no solution was forthcoming.

"All that is left is for us to fall at the feet of the mayor, MP and former chairman and beg. We're finished. We have spent hundreds of thousands of takas to build a house but now the tenants are leaving. I, too, am facing a dilemma.”

Apart from Gawair's Majhibari Road, many other areas. including Nagaria Bari, Chalaban, School Road, Peyara Bagan, Anwara Bagh, Chairmanpara, Mollartek and Dakshinkhan Bazar, are waterlogged.

These areas are located in wards 47, 48 and 49 of the Dhaka North City Corporation. At one point, these were under the jurisdiction of Dakshinkhan Union Parishad.

According to some locals, the rainwater in the whole area would previously flow south through drains, canals and lowlands into the Balu River.

But in the last few years, the low-lying areas have been filled by housing projects of Ashiyan City, Banarupa Residential Area and Jamuna Group. As a result, there is no outlet for the accumulated pool.

Nur Jahan, a resident of Iajuddin Road, said the ground floor of her house has been knee-deep in water for more than a month. She has to wade through the water every day to get to the pharmacy on Dakshinkhan Road.

“Cooking is not a problem because we live on the second floor. But the roads are filled with water. I have to take a boat or rickshaw to the pharmacy. It costs Tk 20 to make such a short trip. You can't call this a life.”

Abdul Wahab, another resident of Iajuddin Road, said the problems with drainage has persisted for the past seven or eight years.

“Each monsoon comes with more misery. We have somehow survived by fighting the waterlogging. There is no place to relieve ourselves as the toilet is under water. There is no place to eat. I can't even cook as even the stove is submerged."

"We are requesting help from the prime minister. Despite being so close to the airport, we, the people of Dakshinkhan, are in a lot of trouble. She must make arrangements to ensure that the drainage issues are resolved.”

'Sujan', a local resident who works in an NGO in Banani, said it was possible to take his motorcycle out a few weeks ago when the water levels were lower. But now, his motorcycle remains grounded at home.

Children too are suffering due to waterlogging.

"Schools are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic so children can't go out just like that. At least they had an opportunity to play sports on the roads in front of their houses but now these are inundated.”

Tofazzal Hossain, former chairman of Dakshinkhan Union, said the lack of a drainage system in the area is a major concern.

Despite the absence of a canal, the water would flow out through the low-lying areas from Northern University to the Barua Bridge.

But the two projects of Ashiyan City and Jamuna Group have filled up the low lands. As a result, there is no scope for the water to escape.

Tofazzal said that while he was the chairman, a pipeline was laid from Ashkona to Lake City through Ashiyan City.

“That pipe is also clogged. As a result, water cannot flow out of the area. In order to remove the blockage, water has to be diverted to the canal by installing big pipes in all the big roads. At this moment, the pipes in Ashiyan City need to be cleaned urgently. ”

Dhaka North City Corporation Mayor Atiqul Islam said the newly added wards did not have any drainage system, causing severe waterlogging.

“If there is no central drainage system, where will the water go? A city has sprawled in an area where there is no drainage system. That is the reality. ”

“ECNEC has approved a project to develop drainage and roads in the new wards. We couldn't start it because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully this time we can get some money and start working in the new areas in phases. ”

On May 9, 2017, the National Implementation Committee for Administrative Restructuring (NICAR) approved a proposal to add 16 new unions to the city corporations of Dhaka North and South, doubling the size of the jurisdictions.

In June of that year, the government published a gazette expanding Dhaka city. local councillors were tasked with overseeing the newly-added wards after the 2020 city corporation elections.

Badda, Vatara, Satarkul, Beraud, Dumni, Uttarkhan, Dakshinkhan and Harirampur unions of Dhaka North City Corporation are now divided into wards 54, from 37

These areas on the outskirts Dhaka have gone through a phase of unplanned urbanisation and as a result, its residents are suffering from inadequate roads and drainage system.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher