Again, for over 16 months now, Sharmeen Huq Amir has been carrying out additional duty as secretary, Dhaka WASA. She is an executive engineer at WASA.

The two posts – chief revenue officer and secretary – are of the deputy secretary rank and generally are given to officers of the BCS cadre. But MD Taqsem A Khan does not want any administration cadre officers in Dhaka WASA. They will not follow his whims to run the organisation. They will try to adhere to the rules. And that is why Dhaka WASA is rife with ‘acting’ and in-charge’ officers bestowed with ‘additional duties’.

According to the public service rules, if anyone is to continue with ‘additional duties’ for over two months, the approval of the board is required. But ever since he took over as MD in 2009, Taqsem A Khan had hardly paid heed to any rules or regulations.

Three important tasks of Dhaka WASA are to supply the public with clean drinking water, sewerage and restoration of canals. Due to the incompetence of the organisation, the responsibility of restoring canals was handed over to Dhaka’s two city corporations last year. And the suffering people of the city know only too well what an abject failure WASA has been in supplying pure drinking water.

Despite all this, Taqsem A Khan has been made MD for the sixth term in a row. After being appointed this sixth time, he has gone on extended leave and is presently overseas. Initially he took three months’ leave. Then he applied for another month’s extension. And while abroad on leave, he still is carrying out his ‘responsibilities’ as MD. The local government MD has granted his leave and made the director (development) the acting MD. Two MDs in one organisation!

Speaking about a large number of officials being given ‘acting’ positions, the chairman of the Dhaka WASA board said that matter was raised at the last meeting, but no one from WASA could give a satisfactory answer.

How will they be able to answer when Dhaka WASA is not being run from within the country? It is being run at the whims of the MD who is presently overseas on leave.

But no organisation run on the taxpayers’ money can continue in this manner. It must not be allowed to run this way. This trend of ‘acting’ and ‘in-charge’ appointments must being halted and officers from the administration cadre must be appointed to responsible positions in Dhaka WASA.

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