CDA, CCC at loggerheads over waterlogging in Ctg
Media: The Independent
The relation between the Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) and the Chattogram Development Authority (CDA) has reached a boiling point over the problem of waterlogging in the port city. The CCC claims it is not responsible for cleaning the city canals as the CDA has been implementing a mega-project titled ‘Canal re-excavation, extension, renovation and development to resolve water-logging in Chittagong city’ at a cost of Tk. 5,616 crore to resolve the city’s waterlogging problem.
Placing an advertisement in newspapers on June 13, the CCC said that it used to regularly clear silt from the canals and drains. But, on August 9, 2017, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved a project involving Tk. 5,616.50 crore to tackle waterlogging in Chattogram in favour of CDA.
“After the approval of the project, all the duties related to waterlogging in the city has been entrusted to the CDA,” the advertisement said. The CCC also says that it cannot remove mud from the city’s canals and drains as the CDA has been implementing the project. The advertisement urged the city dwellers to consider the matter of CCC’s helplessness with sympathy. On June 24, the CDA published a counter-advertisement in newspapers, saying it had already removed 20 lakh cubic feet of silt and waste after starting the work on April 28. It also said the work of cleaning the secondary canals in 15 wards was in progress.
The CDA said they started cleaning three primary canals—Hijra, Chaktai and Dome. However, the city has 57 such canals. As a result of the tussle between the two civic authorities, even a light shower is now resulting in knee-to-waist-deep water on the city streets. During the high tide, the low-lying areas of the city become completely waterlogged and commuters have to endure unspeakable suffering while travelling to those areas.
It may be mentioned that soon after getting the nod of the ECNEC, experts said the project design was flawed and did not follow the updated drainage master plan of the Chittagong Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (CWASA). However, the CDA is updating the project.
When contacted, Ahmed Moinuddin, project director of the waterlogging project, said: “We got Tk. 45 crore to clean the city’s canals and drains. From April 28 this year, we’ve started cleaning the secondary drains in the city. We started cleaning three primary canals—Hijra, Chaktai, and Dome—a week ago.”
On June 21, CCC mayor AJM Nasir Uddin and CDA chairman Abdus Salam got into an altercation over the waterlogging issue. It happened when city AL vice-president Khorshed Alam Sujon raised questions about the dilapidated city roads and the waterlogging, problem at at an executive committee meeting of the city Awami League (AL).
“The mayor, who is also the general secretary of our committee, is responsible for fixing the dilapidated roads. The Prime Minister gave the responsibility of mitigating the waterlogging problem to the CDA chairman, who is also the treasurer of our committee. You must give us a timeline from when you will start resolving these problems,” Sujon said. This criticism sparked an altercation between the two leaders. The CDA chairman said the CCC was confusing the city dwellers by releasing the advertisement in newspapers on the waterlogging issue. The mayor retorted by saying that people were being confused because of the statement issued by the CDA chairman. Owing to the sharp differences, the CDA chairman stayed away from the coordination meeting held on Sunday over the issue at the CCC conference hall. The CDA also did not send any representative to the meeting. In the absence of any representative at the meeting, it was decided that the CDA would be asked in writing about the steps that had been taken to deal with the waterlogging problem in the current season.
Contacted, CCC mayor AJM Nasir Uddin told The Independent: “Now, we are doing our routine work. We were preparing a project to resolve the city’s waterlogging problem when the CDA got approval of a project on the same issue.” When he was reminded that ending the water-logging problem was his electoral promise to the city dwellers, Nasir Uddin said: “The waterlogging problem has become severe. The CDA has been doing a project on the problem. Delay in addressing the issue will tarnish the image of the government ahead of the next election.”
“We called the coordination meeting to discuss the issue. But no one from the CDA was present there,” he added. Attempts to contact the CDA chairman went in vain as he did not pick up the phone despite making several calls.