MD renewal and waterlogging

Will Dhaka WASA run this way?

Ministers change, but he remains in the same post. Since the ruling Awami League assumed power in 2009, two LGRD (Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives) ministers — Syed Ashraful Islam and Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain — completed terms while the third one, Md Tajul Islam, is serving. But, there had been no change in the post of Dhaka WASA's managing director. How was it possible?

Dhaka WASA (Water Supply and Sewerage Authority) is an autonomous institution and its MD must be appointed following the government rules.

But, rules and regulations have been violated on several occasions to renew Taqsem A Khan as the managing director. To reappoint him, once the age limit had been lifted and, another time, the director council had been overlooked.

Will the Dhaka WASA run this way?

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The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) issued a statement Monday seeking the curb of corruption and ensuring good governance in the Dhaka WASA. It called upon WASA to ensure the proper legal procedure and transparency in recruitment of all contractual positions including MD. The current MD’s term will expire on 14 October.

TIB urged concerned authorities to follow due procedure and transparency to appoint a qualified and experienced person in the post before that.

A person holding the same position for 11 years must be evaluated. From 2017 till date, Dhaka WASA spent at least one billion taka to solve water-logging in Dhaka.

But the city dwellers know the best that the Dhaka WASA did not succeed at all. Dhaka used to go under knee-deep logged water earlier it has reached chest-deep now after rain.

A 21 July Prothom Alo report says the WASA has spent billions of taka in the name of infrastructure development, but the suffering of people did not decrease at all.

One among the prime responsibilities of WASA is to provide drinking water to the city dwellers, but it failed to do so.

WASA water cannot be ingested unless boiled as it contains germs and dirt. The MD once claimed the water is 100 per cent purified, but receded after several citizens had challenged him.

Nothing has been done to recover the encroached canals of Dhaka in the last decade.

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The initiative taken by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) last year to probe the allegations brought against Taqsem Khan and two other engineers came at a halt midway. A five-member committee formed by the ministry at this end was supposed to submit a report within 15 days. But, it could not come up with the report even after 11 months. The ACC probe is at a halt due to this. WASA had undertaken a mega plan in 2010 over water, sewerage and drainage, but it is yet to be implemented.

In this perspective, the TIB statement is crucial. If the government believes in the minimum transparency and accountability, it should refrain from reappointing a failed person in the same post time and again.