The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) on Saturday began canal and drain recovery by removing waste from Panthakunja Park's box culvert in the capital's Karwan Bazar.
The operation – described by the city authorities as a crash programme – will continue for the next three months.
Starting in the morning, the DSCC conducted operations in three places, including Panthakunja Park, with various equipment to remove waste. A DSCC garbage truck carrying trash collected from those places later headed for a landfill.
DSCC officials who took part in the operation said the Panthakunja Park culvert stretches until Russell Square in Dhanmondi and has 24 openings that are filled with solid waste. They cleaned five of the openings and removed 74 tonnes of waste.
They said cleaners carrying oxygen supply equipment would get down to the culvert and clean it if water did not flow after the solid waste was removed.
DSCC Chief Executive Officer ABM Amin Ullah Nuri and Chief Waste Management Officer Air Commodore Md Badrul Amin inspected the operation in the afternoon.
Nuri said they had not delayed the canal cleaning and recovery operation.
"We will continue this by demarcating the canals as per the city design documents. By April, we will be able to fully clean three canals and two culverts."
He said he was hopeful that Dhaka would get rid of waterlogging problems this year.
Noting that the operations would be conducted with assistance from Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa), Nuri said, "We started without the cooperation of Dhaka Wasa today. But we will take help from them when it is needed."
"We are capable enough in waste management. We will hire other workers, including local labourers, in phases," added the DSCC official.
The DSCC chief waste management officer told The Business Standard, "We are doing this primarily to clean culvert waste. We have been cleaning canals since November last year and are also taking help from Dhaka Wasa."
He said there was no illegal establishment on Panthakunja Park culvert.
"Apart from continuing this operation, we will also evict establishments built illegally on canals, culverts, and drains."
Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) waste management officials visited Ibrahimpur canal to monitor the condition of canals in the DNCC area. They also did the mapping there.
DNCC Chief Executive Officer Md Selim Reza said, "We will hopefully start our operation this week."
Dhaka residents face waterlogging problems even if it rains a little during monsoon as water accumulates on almost every road. Moreover, drain and canal waste come out and accumulate on roads. On some roads, it even takes a whole day for water to recede.
Even though Dhaka Wasa oversaw canal and sewerage management for long, the city dwellers still suffered.
But the city corporation authorities said this had resulted from a lack of coordination and had repeatedly demanded that the responsibility be handed over to them.
Both the DNCC and the DSCC initiated canal clean-ups on Saturday after the Local Government Division finally handed over the responsibility on 31 December.