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24 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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purity of DWASA water

A protest in style against MD’s claim

A media stunt, says MD
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

A Dhaka resident, along with few of his supporters,  yesterday resorted to an innovative style of protest to drive home the point that water supplied by the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) is not 100 per cent potable, as was claimed by the Wasa MD, Taqsim A Khan, last Saturday.

The resident, Mizanur Rahman, from the Jurain area of the capital, who styled himself as a social worker, went in front of the Wasa office in Karwan bazar at around 11am with a jug full of Wasa water supplied in the Jurain area, a bag of sugar and few lemons. “I intend to make a glass of Sharbat (lemon juice) for the Wasa MD with the water supplied in our area,” said Mizanur when asked why he braved the scorching sun and took a firm stand in front of the civic body’s office. Wasa MD Taqsim A Khan last Saturday trashed a report of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) which said a staggering amount of Tk. 332 crore worth of gas is spent in a year to boil the undrinkable water of Dhaka Wasa.

“That figure is drawn out of thin air,” said Taqsim at a crowded press conference which was solely arranged to counter and negate the TIB’s claim. “Water supplied by us is cent per cent drinkable,” said Taqsim.

“I saw what he said at that press conference. If the water is so drinkable, then he must have no problem drinking it,” said Mizanur who came to Karwan bazar with his wife, daughter and two friends.

They were showing placards which said “You have to take responsibilities of polluted water,” “For how long will you continue feeding us black water,” and “Give us water, not rubbish,” and “Wasa of dirty water.”

The five persons were flanked by a number of onlookers and a battery of journalists who went there to cover the innovative protest by Mizanur and his fellow protestors. Several units of the police stood in front of the Wasa headquarters and made sure of thwarting any chaos.

The police also stopped Mizanur from entering the Wasa office.

The protesting people demanded that they be allowed to meet Wasa MD Taqsim, but he didn’t show up.  Time passed by and more than two hours later at around 1:10pm, they were allowed to meet Wasa director (Technical) AKM Shahid Uddin.

“Thanks, but I am not going to drink that,” Shahid Uddin replied curtly when Mizanur offered him a glass of sharbat made of raw Wasa water.

Admitting that the raw Wasa water is not potable, Shahid Uddin said: “Old supply lines contaminate the water, so the water is not indeed drinkable.”

The journalists who went inside the director’s room then asked who is responsible for looking after the pipelines. A visibly embarrassed Shahid Uddin replied: “Wasa is responsible for the pipelines as well.”

The Wasa director assured him that officials from the civic body would visit his house and take steps about the dirty water.

After the meeting with Wasa director, Mizanur Rahman said: “We do not believe in assurances. We will gather more people and move for safe supply of water in Jurain. We, the Jurain people, have been suffering because of the polluted water for a long time.” He demanded an apology from the Wasa MD for his remarks.

The Independent later called the Wasa MD over the phone and asked him why he didn’t meet Mizanur Rahman and why he didn’t drink the water brought by him.

“Why should I drink the water brought by a stranger? Besides, I had a very busy schedule yesterday. I entered my office at around 4:30pm. In the morning, I first went to Sonar Gaon Hotel to attend a conference. Then I went to the house of Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim and after that I had a meeting in the Prime Minister’s office.,” he said.

Wasa MD said he instructed his director (technical) — the relevant official — to meet Mizanur. “Interestingly, our engineer went to the address Mizanur gave us of his home at noon and found that to be a wrong address. Mizanur in fact lives in a different address. The people in Jurain know him to be an eccentric person,” Taqsim told The Independent.  “It was in fact a media stunt performed by him. Our engineer brought water from his home and found that to be potable.

Later, his wife admitted to our engineer that the water he brought to our office in Karwan Bazar was from somewhere else. We have documented the video of the whole incident. Anyone is welcome in our office to see that,” he said.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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