The government has named a new chairman for Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority or WASA, amid a dispute between outgoing Chairman Gholam Mostofa and Managing Director Taqsem A Khan.
Gholam Mostofa complained about the activities of Taqsem to the local government ministry recently in the latest development of Taqsem’s dispute with the board.
But the Local Government Division on Monday replaced Gholam Mostofa with Sujit Kumar Bala, a member of the board.
Mostofa, in his instant reaction to the appointment of a new chairman, said his tenure officially ended six months ago. “I was supposed to continue as chairman until the appointment of a new one following the law. Now a new chairman has been named.”
He declined to comment when asked if he was removed because of his dispute with Taqsem.
New chairman Sujit is a professor at the Institute of Water and Flood Management at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
Gholam Mostofa, a former general secretary of Bangabandhu Engineers Council, was reappointed WASA chairman in 2020 after his stint in 2009-12.
He sent a letter to the local government ministry last week, alleging Taqsem had been running WASA in an authoritarian way and turned the organisation into a “den of irregularities, waste and corruption”.
Earlier this month, Gholam Mostofa spoke about issues at WASA at a TV talk show.
Dhaka WASA Workers Union, Dhaka WASA Diploma Engineers Association and Dhaka WASA Engineers Union then sent a letter to the ministry, accusing Gholam Mostofa of belittling them.
Gholam Mostofa alleged they had written to the ministry under pressure from Taqsem.
Since taking office in 2009 on a three-year term, Taqsem has been at the centre of numerous controversies for his conduct in office, his enormous salary and benefits package, and his public comments. He also drew flaks for seeking to work remotely from the US.
Taqsem's stint as WASA managing director for an unprecedented six consecutive terms, which Transparency International, Bangladesh described as a breach of the body's rules and regulations in a 2019 report, has also raised eyebrows.
A Dhaka court in January directed the Anti-Corruption Commission to launch an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of Tk 1.32 billion by Taqsem and eight others from Dhaka WASA Employees Multipurpose Cooperative Society.