Cleaning at Jurain: Locals take it upon themselves

Fed up with the authorities’ failure to solve the prolonged waterlogging problem at Haji Khorshed Ali Sardar Sarak in the capital’s East Jurain, locals have taken matters into their own hands.

They are cleaning the clogged drains and sewers of the 3km road with bamboo sticks and shovels. They have also installed pumps to remove the stagnant water.

The situation has started to improve.

Locals said the road along with nearby Rishipara and Kalamia Sarak had been submerged for around the last one-and-a-half years, causing immense sufferings to more than one lakh residents of the area under Ward 53 of the Dhaka South City Corporation.

They blamed the authorities concerned, especially the DSCC, for taking no prompt action in this regard.

Talking to this correspondent, many of them complained about suffering from skin diseases because of the filthy water.

“I have rashes over my body as I need to wade through the water every day. My doctor advised me to avoid it but I can’t. I have no other option.”

Mizanur Rahman, another resident of the area, said, “We were sick and tired of facing this problem for such a long time. That’s why we decided to take it upon ourselves to solve the problem.”

He said a group of locals first tried to pump out the water some 15 days ago but that did not work out as expected as the surface drains were heavily clogged.

“Then we started cleaning the drains extensively on November 18 and we are getting good results now. We engaged 20 youths in the cleaning job,” he said.

Recently, Mizanur said, they employed 12 day labourers to speed up the process.

Since the cleaning began, he claimed, many portions of the road, which used to remain under almost knee-deep water, have dried up.

Mohammad Alam, another resident of the area and also the general secretary of Ward 53 Awami League, said, “We have set up two eight-inch pumps at Chabbish Foot Khal to remove water from the road. The water is now flowing down to the [Titas] canal,” he said.

Although the locals complained to the city corporation authorities about the matter on a number of occasions, its officials expressed helplessness citing a lack of logistics and manpower to handle the issue, he said.

Abdur Rahman, garbage management officer (zone-5) of the DSCC, however, said they also began cleaning the surface drains 15 days ago.

“It is a severe problem and if we really want to solve it, we need to clean the Titas canal first as it is the only place for the stagnant water to go,” he said, adding that the Bangladesh Water Development Board should take initiatives to clean the waterbody which is blocked at different points.

Councillor of Ward 53 Md Nur Hossain said labours hired by the city corporation were working to clean the sewers using DSCC equipment.

He said DSCC Mayor Sayeed Khokon has also given 20 pumps to remove the stagnant water from the area.

Hossain alleged that some people were trying to do politics over the matter ahead of the next parliamentary polls.

He claimed to have taken initiatives several times before and sending letters to the authorities concerned to solve the waterlogging issue.

A Tk 558 crore project of the Water Development Board has already been approved by the Ecnec and work of the project to solve the waterlogging problem of the DND area would start next month. Bangladesh Army would implement the project, he said.

The people in the DND area have been facing the problem for the last 45 years, he said expressing hope that the project would solve the problem for good.