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Recover the canals, save the city

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THE chance to recover the occupied canals is remote since the authorities have not taken any effective steps to recover those for long. Most of the city canals have been occupied by the influential persons which causes huge water logging in Dhaka after every rainfall. The related departments blame each other for the failures of freeing canals from occupation, as per a report of this newspaper.

 Apparently a combined operation by Dhaka South and North City Corporations, Dhaka District Administration and Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) is needed  to recover city canals from the influential grabbers But the authorities are busy doing the blame game. More than 63 canals were flowing through Dhaka city before independence. In the eighties, there were more than 40 canals in the city. Nowadays, according to the authorities there are 23 canals, but in fact there are 10 to 12 canals, stated the report.

The illegal grabbers occupied most of the canals and constructed different types of installations for doing business. But the authorities seemed helpless to take strict actions against those grabbers. As a result, the city residents suffer most after every heavy rains and during rainy season and other times.  Basila canal in Mohammadpur, Kalshi canal in Mirpur, Katasur canal, Kamrangirchar canal, Ramchandrapur canal in Rayerbagh,  Basabo canal, Ibrahimpur canal in Mirpur-14, Dholaikhal, Kutubkhali canal in Dolairpar, Khilgaon canal, Nandipara canal, Shegunbagicha canal, Begunbari canal, Baunia canal and Rupnagar canals are occupied by the local influential persons.

Most of them constructed buildings, shops, workshops, and many other installations without showing any respect to law. Apart from this, some of the government offices also grabbed canals illegally and constructed installations.

Now the city authorities know very well who the grabbers are. It is not a difficult matter to evict them from the canals. It is because of this illegal grabbing that Dhaka city becomes literally drowned whenever there is incessant downpour. In fact, in almost any situation of heavy rain major parts of the entire city becomes waterlogged.

The nonchalance of the authorities towards correcting the situation is one reason why the waterlogging is occurring so frequently. The canals represented a natural way of removing the excess water from Dhaka -- it remains a natural drainage system for Dhaka city. But whenever we try to destroy what nature has created by creating artificial superstructures and clogging the drainage system we wreak havoc not just on nature but also on ourselves. There should be immediate eviction drives to remove all the obstacles which prevent the canals from flowing freely -- irregardless of whichever so-called influential people have grabbed it.

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