Army to be deployed April 1 to tackle water crisis

March 30, 2010

The government has decided to deploy army troops on April 1 to help Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority tackle the capital’s severe water crisis.
In a cabinet meeting on Monday, the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, gave the directive to deploy army personnel from April 1 to maintain security at water pump stations and assist Dhaka WASA in water management, sources present in the meeting said.
‘Like every year, we have sought help from the army headquarters to maintain security and for smooth distribution of water at every zone and water pump stations in the capital city,’ Dhaka WASA’s deputy managing director Liakat Ali told New Age.
When asked exactly what the army personal would do to manage the water crisis, he said, their mobile teams would distribute water among the city dwellers, particularly in poor neighbourhoods.
About security at water pump stations, Liakat Ali said, ‘The army personnel will watch the overall situation. You see, there are evil groups who might try to create problems in water management.’
The WASA official, however, could not give a specific date for troops deployment. Sources in the WASA said though no specific date had been set, the army might be deployed any day in the first week of April.
Many areas of the city are experiencing a severe crisis of water, power and gas with people suffering in scorching summer heat. The Dhaka WASA has attributed the disruption of water supply to frequent power outages.
Residents of Mirpur Senpara, Shewrapara, Mohammadpur, Purba Rajabazar, Khilgaon, Basabo, Jatrabari and the Old Town of Dhaka are among the worst sufferers.
‘We can operate only 290 water pumps with generators during the load shedding hours,’ the WASA official told New Age, hoping that the situation would improve as they had planned to install 120 pumps under ‘dual connection’ to mitigate the sufferings of the people in summer.
Dhaka city is now experiencing eight to ten hours of power outage daily and the crisis of electricity may deepen further in the coming days, according to sources in Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd.
At present, Dhaka WASA supplies 87 per cent or 190 crore litres of water from ground water sources.
The phase-1 and Chandni Ghat water treatment plant supply about 22 crore and 4 crore litres of water respectively against WASA’s total supply of about 190 crore litres a day. The rest comes from 545 deep tubewells. The existing demand in the capital is over 225 crore litres a day if it is assumed that the total population of the city is about one crore and 20 lakh.

Courtesy of NewAgebd

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