Known as ‘Venice of the East’, Barisal’s fragile sewage system is causing a dire humanitarian crisis.


Since time immemorial, ‘Dhan-River-Khal, these three Barisal’ was termed as the ‘Venice of the East’ by National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. But due to the reckless negligence and indifference of the authorities, the Barisal Metropolitan Sewerage System is now causing human disasters again and again. Whereas Sher-e-Bangla AK Fazlul Haque used to come to Barisal city by boat from his native place Chakhar in Banaripara and birthplace Saturia in Rajapur of Jhalkathi. Former President Abdur Rahman Biswas came to this city by boat from his birthplace Shaistabad in Sadar Upazila. Even after marrying Bangabandhu’s younger sister, farmer leader Shahid Abdur Rob Serniabat came to Seral village of Agailjhara in Barisal with his bride from Tungipara. Bangabandhu also went out with his parents several times in his life by boat to his younger sister-in-law’s house in Agailjhara. Advocate Abdur Rob Serniabat came to Barisal with his wife from Agailjhara by boat.
From Nazrul’s ‘Venice of the East to Barisal’, the canals gradually disappeared and this two-hundred-year-old metropolis was gradually affected by human disasters. Even if it rains 5 millimeters per hour, many important roads in the city become waterlogged. Water flow is more noticeable in roads than in drains.
Behind this, whatever the current and former city administrations say, most of them are accused in the public mind that one side is rich in the mentality of attacking the other side for political reasons.
The then British-Indian government established the district headquarters in the present Bakerganj upazila in 1897, but considering various problems, Bakerganj district headquarters was shifted to Barisal metropolis in 1903. However, the Barisal Town Committee formed in 1869 formed the ‘Barisal Municipality’ according to the ‘Municipality Act’ of British-India with two wards of an area of ​​7 square miles with a population of about 12,500. During the partition of the country in 1947, Barisal Municipality was formed with a population of 1 lakh in 20 square miles. After independence, Barisal Municipal Committee was formed in 1972 as per ‘Local Council and Municipalities Act Amendment 1972 Ordinance’. On January 1, 1993, when the Barisal division was established, the name of the district was also changed to Barisal instead of Bakerganj after the name of the city. On July 25, 2002, the journey of Barisal City Corporation officially started with an area of ​​58 square kilometers of 30 wards.
Originally, during the British period, there were more than half a hundred canals under government supervision in this city. But due to the lack of regular cleaning and maintenance of these very important canals in the city in the last two decades, the sewage system of the entire city is endangered. That is why the current city council is pointing fingers at the conversion of some unpaved drains and canals into paved ORCC drains during the time of the previous city councils. But besides the question of the city dwellers, some canals have been made 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep and pavements have been made on RCC paved drains. The city administration is not able to clean its garbage, how could the 30 feet wide canal be cleaned. Besides, the city administration is still not able to regularly clean the important canals like Jail canal, Navgram canal, Sagardi canal, Nathullabad canal, Tiakhali canal, Bhatar canal and Chandmari canal and keep the sewage system smooth. This is also the question of the city dwellers.
Basically, in the last few years, none of the canals of this city have been completely cleaned, the residents of the city complain. Even though the large drain next to Navagram Road, from Battala Bazar to Hatem Ali College, is filled with brick-sand-cement in the area of ​​only one kilometer, the Conservancy Department of Nagar Bhaban has not taken any steps to clean it even in the last 5 years.
On the other hand, the Water Development Board has undertaken a project to improve the beauty of the Palashpur canal, Amanatganj canal, Jelkhall, Bhatar canal, Chandmari canal, Sagardi canal and Rupatali canals in Barisal city at a cost of Tk 10.75 crore, including the renovation of about 18 km of the canals and the walkways on both sides. For more than three years it was stuck in the mouth of the city building. However, in the changed situation, most recently the water development board has appointed contractors for the renovation of 6 canals. The executive engineer of the Water Development Board said that the steps to renovate another canal are also in the final stages. Apart from this, he expressed the hope of renovating some more canals in the city under the 200 canal renovation and development from the board in Barisal district.

The article is in Bengali

Tags: Venice East Barisals fragile sewage system causing dire humanitarian crisis


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