Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said the number of cholera cases in the capital this year was the highest in 20-25 years with water being contaminated by leaks created by people in the city who cut into Wasa's main pipes to install illegal lines to households.
Also, most home owners do not clean their water tanks properly increasing the risk of cholera, said the cabinet secretary at a Cabinet Division conference hall press briefing on Thursday.
"We asked Wasa 10 days ago to identify illegal lines and remove them to prevent waterborne diseases," he said.
The cabinet secretary also said the level of chlorine in water supplied by the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) is lower than what is required for disinfecting it, but there is no bacteria at any source of water.
Khandker Anwarul Islam said, "We will receive 7.5 million cholera vaccines from the World Health Organisation in May, which will protect people from the disease for 3-4 years."
His comments came at a time when the number of diarrhoea patients in the capital has been on the rise. The icddr,b hospital has seen more than 40,000 diarrhoea patients since March 2022.
Govt to set up rural development academies
The government will establish two more rural development academies in Jamalpur and Rangpur districts, aiming at making the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises, more effective for balanced development of the country.
To this end, the Cabinet approved in principle, the drafts of Sheikh Hasina Rural Development Academy, Jamalpur Act, 2022, and Rural Development Academy, Rangpur Act, 2022.
"We need more academies similar to the Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) and the Rural Development Academy (RDA) to meet growing needs," said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing journalists yesterday.
The cabinet secretary said the academies would be responsible mainly for capacity building work, conducting research, and piloting some projects.
"Research would be their fundamental job alongside piloting new projects," said the cabinet secretary.
He said the academies, if necessary, could affiliate with educational institutions to offer diploma, and post-graduate diploma and certificate courses, alongside conducting different professional training courses.
The draft of National Volunteer Policy approved
The Cabinet yesterday also approved the draft "National Volunteer Policy 2022" and asked the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief to implement it.
He said the policy has been brought in line with sections 16 and 59 of Bangladesh's constitution, perspective plan, sustainable development goals, five-year plan, and the directives of tackling Covid-19.
The Cabinet Secretary said although the local government ministry has initiated it, lots of ministries are involved in this and the ministry of disaster management would lead it.
Responding to a query regarding the policy, he said the United Nations (UN) has told the government that Bangladesh should have a volunteer policy as the country is a pioneer in volunteer work.