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Tuesday, October 24, 2017 04:20:59 AM
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Fund for city drainage system lost to the drain

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MEDIA report on Monday said Dhaka WASA, Water Development Board and two of our City Corporations have jointly spent around  Tk 2,000 crore; much of it over the past eight years in the name of building and upgrading water drainage system of Dhaka city. The money was spent for building and maintaining drainage facilities, digging and cleaning of canals, installing of new pump stations and other activities. However, the money has visibly and also provably went in vain. Otherwise, why the city-dwellers had to suffer so miserably during the pre-monsoon and monsoon seasons this year? Why so many city sections are experiencing frequent waterloggings here and there?

It is time to hold the stated three authorities accountable for their irresponsible and unaccountable spending. The authorities should not be allowed to get away without detailed explanations. Instead of ensuring smooth outflow of rain water the money spent in the name of various development programmes has shockingly created more waterloggings, we experienced recently. We call for detailed investigations on how was the money spent and where did it go?

The culture of chaotic spending and looting public money should not be allowed without transparency and accountability. There are enough reasons to suspect -- more than just hasty spending -- bulk of the 2,000 crore was looted in various capacities. It is right now to get hold of the engineers, project directors, construction firms and officers concerned or whoever were responsible for carrying out the various medium and small-scale projects carried by the three public organisations. Also much of the funds were spent in the last eight years, so the responsibility for investigating into the questionable expenditure hugely falls in the shoulders of the ruling party in power.

The undivided City Corporation alone has reportedly spent a mammoth amount of Tk 1,270 crore only to aggravate prolonged water-logging in the city. The other two have spent nearly 730 crore, but the million dollar question - what were their output? In the last two and half years not even one new drain was built.

The truth is - the three agencies have all miserably failed to address the clogged drainage system.   
Lastly, it is not only a mere matter of investigating into the misuse or abuse of government fund for infrastructure development, it has much to do to address the organised nature of bureaucratic corruption in Bangladesh. If such a big amount of reckless public expenditure is not investigated, we fear corrupt government officials will loot even more in the future.      

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