Completion Of One Year
Mayor Atiq finds mosquito control, canal reclaimation challenging
Mayor Atiqul Islam of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) will complete one year of his term tomorrow (Thursday). In an interview with the Daily Observer, he talked about his challenges, achievements and future visions.
Mayor Atiqul Islam of the Dhaka North City Corporation described mosquito control and canal reclaiming activities as the most challenging in the last one year of his mayoral tenure.Therefore, he has decided to hand over the responsibility of demarcating the canal to the Bangladesh Army and mosquito control through a third party company.
In addition to these problems, Mayor Atiqul Islam spoke to the Daily Observer about various issues, including water logging, corruption in the DNCC and coping up with coronavirus.
Regarding the canal reclaiming operation Mayor Atiqul said. "Various plans are being implemented in phases to remove the 30-year-old rubbish from the reclaimed canals. Now we are cleaning the canal deep to keep the water flowing. Later, the boundaries of the canal will be demarcated and the banks will be marked accordingly" he added.
Mentioning that there are various local political obstacles in reclaiming the canal, DNCC Mayor said, "We are not paying mush attention to these obstacles as directed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. We will give the responsibility of demarcating the canals to the Bangladesh Army. They will set the pillars by demarcating the boundaries through their own maps obtained via satellites."
"It will cost about Tk 50
crore to set up boundary pillars on both sides of the 100 km canal area in DNCC" he added. "173 acres of land in Kalyanpur-A canal has been occupied by the local land grabbers" said Mayor Atiqul and added "53-acre of the area belongs to the City Corporation. Initially, we will clear the 5 acre land. Then we will reclaim other land later. These occupations enjoyed political patronage for the last 30 years."
When asking how successful the DNCC has been in eradicating mosquitoes in the last one year? He said, "Mosquito eradication has been challenging for all Mayors of the Dhaka City Corporation, still it is so."
Mayor Atiqul blamed the vacant public and private lands in the DNCC area for the breeding of mosquitoes and said, "All public and private lands owners, where mosquitoes are found will be brought under the law."
"We are mainly affected by Anopheles and Aedes mosquitoes" he said, adding that "Cleanliness has no relation with Aedes mosquito breeding. Aedes mosquitoes also breed in Singapore. There Aedes mosquitoes are repelled by artificial mosquitoes. We have a plan to do so."
Atiqul also said, "Work is underway to train up the employees of the DNCC by providing higher training. Besides these experimental steps, we will engage Third Party companies for mosquito eradication in some areas. The next decision will be taken after evaluating their work."
"We did not have any holidays during the epidemic," he said and mentioned, "Like doctors, law enforcement people and the media personnel, our city corporation staff also played a key role during the epidemic period."
"Our cleaning workforce has cleaned up the city's dirt at the risk of their own lives. At the same time, mosquito eradication activities continued to prevent the spread of dengue" he added.
Regarding the conversion of Mohakhali Kacha Bazar into a hospital, Atiqul Islam said, "No hospital has been set up in the DNCC area after the split of Dhaka City Corporation. Due to this, the residents of DNCC are not getting minimum health services at a minimum price. That is why this market has been converted into Mohakhali Covid-19 Hospital."
"The Corona Hospital will be gradually converted into a General Hospital and turned into a nursing institute. Now the DNCC hospital has become a place of trust as the people and the corona patients not facing any crisis there," he added.
"Mentioning that relief was provided to the city dwellers during the last year lockdown for coronavirus pandemic" DNCC Mayor said, "When the 'lockdown' started this year, Tk 1 lakh has been given to each councillor (54 wards) to provide food to the distressed people. Besides, 1 million DNCC masks, 1 lakh bottles of hand sanitizer, 150,000 bars of soap, 50,000 pieces of three-layer cloth masks, 2,000 bottles of liquid hand sanitizer have been distributed."
Besides "In each ward 500 pieces of sari and a total of Tk 56 lakh in cash have been given for the imams and muezzins of the mosques."
"Apart from this, DNCC is connected with 333 service hotlines. All the regional executive officers of DNCC have been allocated Tk 50,000 for this purpose. If anyone wants food assistance, it can be delivered to their home" said Atiqul Islam.
While asked what kind of work has been done to reduce water logging in the city in the last one year, the DNCC mayor replied, "The canals and drains of Dhaka were much neglected in the last 30 years. After getting the responsibility of the canal, Tk. 30 crore was allocated for the development of canals and the drainage system. But the Ministry did not give us this money even today."
"The Ministry has given us Tk 5 crore for this work but we have already spent about Tk 80 crore for the upcoming monsoon drainage activities. We have allocated the suim from our own funds."
"DNCC have started work to ensure sustainable flow by making the canals and drains clean, free from encroachment and connections. These activities will continue throughout the year. As a result of these activities, we are very hopeful that the water logging will be much less this monsoon" Atiqul Islam said.
Mentioning that the DNCC and DSCC mayors are working together to reduce traffic congestion in the city, he said, "We have already fixed a route from Ghatar Char in Keraniganj to Kanchpur for bus route rationalization. Construction of bus bays on that route has started."
"The North and South Cities will build their own bus bays" said Mayor Atiqul and added, "The construction work of 'Bus Bay' of DNCC has been approved. There is no alternative to bus route rationalization to bring order in public transport."
"Besides, inter-district buses will not be allowed to enter Dhaka. We have already fixed the place around Dhaka to built inter-district bus terminal over there." Atiqul Islam said.