After Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) Mayor Rezaul Karim Chowdhury took office on February 15, he started a 100-day crash programme to solve some of the city’s key issues on priority basis. Even though 95 days have gone by, most of the problems still persist, and the mayor’s promises remain unfulfilled.
Targets were set to get rid of the mosquito menace, clean up all canals and drains to resolve waterlogging during monsoon, complete repair-work of 70 kilometres of battered roads and fill potholes, and finish the Tk 260-crore project for installing LED street lights.
Earlier, Rezaul put the crash programme as second priority in his 37-point election manifesto.
The programme officially started with the mayor’s anti-mosquito drive on February 20. Though the 100-day deadline is just around the corner, the mosquito menace is still a major issue for city dwellers.
Residents in different areas claimed that the situation did not improve a bit over three months of the mayor’s tenure.
“We can’t peacefully stay at home after sunset due to mosquitoes,” said Tripti Howlader, a resident of KB Aman Ali Road in West Bakalia. “When the mayor started the crash programme with a number of promises, which included an end to the mosquito menace, we were optimistic. But now, we see that the situation has not improved a bit.”
The target of cleaning up drains and canals has not been achieved in many areas.
Abdur Rahman, a resident of West Bakalia Phooltola area, said drains and canals were obstructed by polythene and other garbage, but CCC staffers barely bothered to clean them.
“So, the drains and canals have become a safe haven for mosquito breeding,” he said.
Yesterday, this correspondent saw at least two canals — Chaktai and Brija — filled up with polythene and garbage.
Contacted, CCC Deputy Chief Conservancy Officer Morshedul Alam Chowdhury said they were trying their best to resolve the mosquito issue.
“Two CCC teams are going to each of the 41 wards every day to spray larvicide,” he said. “They also use fogger machines to kill mosquitoes in bushes.”
Asked why the situation has not improved, he said they were also worried about it. “We have sent sample of anti-mosquito medicine to the laboratory of Chattogram University to know its efficacy. We are waiting for the results.”
Regarding canals and drains filling up with waste, Morshedul said as per instruction of the mayor, they were cleaning up those.
“The problem is, if we clean a drain or certain portion of a canal, we see it getting filled again in just a few days, due to some irresponsible residents dumping waste there,” he said.
“For example, we cleaned Chaktai canal at Phooltola area in March, but now, you will see that part of the canal filled with polythene and garbage,” he added. “If people throw polythene wastes into the canal, is it possible for us to keep it in check round the clock?”
People should act responsibly, he opined.
However, residents in Phooltola said CCC workers cleaning Chaktai canal was just an “eyewash”.
“They worked for three days and removed some polythene waste, and then went away, leaving a large part of the canal filled with polythene,” said Abdur Razzak, an elderly resident of the area. “As the drains and canal remain filled, the area was waterlogged on Eid day after it rained.”
A similar situation was seen regarding two other issues — installation of LED lights, and completing road repairs.
During a visit, it was seen that LED lights were absent on many parts of Shaheed Saifuddin Kader Road, Chattogram College Road, Muradpur to Chawkbazar Road, and Bahaddarhat to Chawkbazar Road, while West Bakalia DC Road and streets in Chandgaon area were in a battered state.
This correspondent tried to contact Rafiqul Islam, additional chief engineer of CCC, to know how much of the roads have been repaired and how many roads came under LED-light coverage, but he did not receive multiple phone calls.
Contacted, CCC Mayor Rezaul admitted that he failed to solve the mosquito menace, but claimed to have succeeded to a great extent on other issues.
Without elaborating on it, the mayor said he would organise a press conference immediately to inform everyone about the programme.