The mayors of Dhaka's two city corporations and urban planners have underlined the need for having an effective coordinated management system to bring an end to water-logging and traffic congestion in the capital.

At the same time, they have emphasised a firm political commitment to implementing the work plan undertaken to safeguard the Dhaka city.

They were speaking at a roundtable styled ‘Water-logging, traffic congestion put Dhaka on the brink”, organised by daily Prothom Alo at its office in Karwan Bazar, Dhaka.

Dhaka north city corporation mayor Annisul Huq, Dhaka south city corporation mayor Sayed Khokon, Asia Pacific University vice chancellor and former caretaker government adviser Jamilur Reza Choudhury, Centre for Urban Studies, Dhaka, chairman professor Nazrul Islam, former president of Institute of Architects, Bangladesh, Mubasshar Hossain, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) professor Mohammad Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association (BELA) executive director Syeda Rizwana Hasan and North South University assistance professor Mohammad Zaman spoke.

Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayum moderated the discussion.

Mayor Annisul Huq said the city corporation does not have the jurisdiction over all of the drains in the capital. “The Dhaka WASA (Water Supply and Sewerage Authority) maintains 600 kilometres of drainage network and the district administration owns the lakes where the city corporation has nothing to do,” the mayor said.

He said, “I visited lakes and saw one end of both Rupnagar Khal and Kalyanpur Khal closed. The flood flow zones have been occupied. Encroachment is going on into both Turag and Balu rivers adjacent to the capital. Buildings are being constructed occupying drains. Agencies like Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (RAJUK) and WASA do not work under the jurisdiction of the city corporation, so why would they listen to our instructions?”

He observed that a lasting and fruitful solution is not possible unless a coordinated effort is taken, bringing all of the agencies under a single umbrella.

“Even after that, we have taken short-term, midium-term and long-term initiatives to solve the problem; Illegal structures are being evicted.”