Dhaka dwellers drink unclean water

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Dhaka, May 17: Contaminated water is being supplied to 57 areas in 10 zones under the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (WASA), according to a report submitted to a High Court (HC) bench by the WASA on Thursday. In its report, the WASA said these areas have been specified after it scrutinised the water supplied to 10 zones under its jurisdiction in the city. The report was made based on allegations brought by residents of these areas through the WASA hotline 1616.The areas are: Jatrabari, Bashabo, Mugda, Rajarbagh, Kushumbagh, Jurain, Maniknagar, Manda, Dholaipar, Matuail, Bhagolpur, Lalbagh, Bakshibazar, Shahidnagar, Jhigatola, Dhanmondi, Shukrabad, Kalabagan, Bhooter Gali, Mohammadpur, Shewrapara, Pirerbagh, Monipur, Paikpara, Kazipara, Mirpur, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Shiddeshwari, Shahjahanpur, Khilgaon, Moghbazar, Noyatola, Rampura, Malibagh, Paribagh, Kadamtali, Dhoniya, Shyampur, Rasulbagh, Meradnagar, Patherbagh, Shanirakhra, Konapara, Muslimnagar, Badda, Aftabnagar, Bashundhara, Bhatara, Uttara, Khilkhet, Fayedabad, Mollartek, Rana Bhola, Kafrul, Kochukhet and Pallabi.

Declining to make detailed comments over the issue, WASA managing director Taqsem A Khan told The Independent that they compiled the allegations of residents through its hotline 1616.

After receiving the report, the HC asked Sabita Rezwana Rahman, head of Dhaka University’s microbiology department, to appear before it on May 21 for expert opinions on how the water supplied by the Dhaka WASA can be tested in an easy way. The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam has fixed May 21 for passing further order on the issue.

Earlier in the day, deputy attorney general Motaher Hossain Sazu submitted a LGRD ministry report to the HC bench, saying Tk 75.61 lakh is needed for collecting samples from the Dhaka WASA and examining them.

Of this amount, the LGRD ministry needed about Tk. 50 lakh for bacteria tests and Tk. 24 lakh for physicochemical tests.

The HC, earlier, had expressed dissatisfaction with the Dhaka WASA for failing to examine the water of Dhaka and Narayanganj city corporations.

In a report in April, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said 34.5 per cent of Dhaka WASA consumers complained of poor quality of water throughout the year. The report went on to say that people had to burn Tk. 3,32.37 crore worth of gas every year to boil the Dhaka WASA water.

Taqsem A Khan denied the charge, claiming the water is 100 per cent drinkable. He, however, failed to respond to a much-publicised demand for him to drink lemonade made with Dhaka WASA water.

According to the report, 51.5 per cent of all Dhaka WASA consumers reported their water quality to be filthy, while 41.4 per cent complained their water smelled terrible. Poor quality water throughout the year was reported by 34.5 per cent of WASA users. Water quality was reported to be the poorest in summer with 62.1 per cent, followed by 59.6 per cent in the monsoon, with only 7.5 per cent complaining of poor quality water in winter.