German philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche condemned "hope" for people's sufferings. He said: "Hope is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man." Is it true for Khulna people who suffer because they hoped for a better life in the city? Ramshackle streets and water-logging have become part of Khulna city dwellers' life. Now, mosquitoes are also there to taunt them. But, Khulna City Corporation (KCC) is telling that it has been carrying out various activities, including different projects, to ease the sufferings of the city dwellers.
The ramshackle streets
Though the ramshackle streets in Khulna city were repaired temporarily during the Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of Hindu community, in October 2019, the KCC did not go for any permanent solution. The blow of cyclone Bulbul in November damaged the roads severely. Many streets and drains in all of the 31 wards of the KCC were damaged in the cyclone, according to sources at the city corporation. Maniktala Main Road and Kedarnath Cross Road of ward No 1, Ansar Flower Mill Road and SR Siraji Road of ward No 2, Anjuman Road Bylane of ward No 5, Sharif Amzad Sarak Bylane of ward No 6, BIDC Road of ward No 8, and Mujogunni Mohasarak, Shahid Abu Naser Hospital Road and Mujogunni Main Road of ward No 9 are worthy of a mention among the damaged roads.
However, the city corporation has a plan to repair a total of 107 streets, spending more than Tk100 crore, under Roads Repairing Project, worth Tk607 crore, in 2019-2020 fiscal year. But, the initiative to implement the plan is not much visible. So, the residents are sufferings.
However, Liakat Ali Khan, executive engineer-2 of the KCC, said, "Already 10 percent of the project's work is done. We hope the repair will be finished in time."
The city corporation dug several canals, including Moyuri and Khuder Khal, of the city to remove the water-logging problem. Besides, various steps were taken to upgrade the drainage system. Despite the developmental activities, spending crores of taka, many areas of the city go under water in rainy season.
Many important roads and alleys, including PTI More (intersection), Royal More, Shantidham More, Phool Market, Tutpara, Ahsan Ahmed Road, Notun Bazar, Sir Iqbal Road, KDA Avenue Road, Joragate, Khalishpur Bastuhara, Boyra, Mujogunni, in front of Navy School and Housing Bazar, of the city are facing the same problem.
Educational and governmental organisations, hostels, commercial organisations, market areas and many houses in the city's low-lying areas submerge under rainwater. Besides, due to permanent water-logging in the residential areas of the low-lying part of the city, people suffer a lot.
Khulna Mayor Talukder Abdul Khalek assured that he will solve the water-logging problem by re-digging 22 canals of the city. He gave a direction to the engineering department of the KCC to formulate a new plan to solve the crisis. A project worth Tk823 crore was proposed. The project included building primary drains in 62 kilometres of area along nine major roads, constructing secondary drains in 128 kilometres of area in different wards of the city and re-digging different canals, constructing the canals' banks and building gates.
Although the project was approved in the meeting of The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) in January 2019, the KCC could not call for tenders as yet.
Mohendranath Sen, member secretary of social organisation Jana Udyog in Khulna, said, "Earlier, Moyur Nod re-digging project saw a huge corruption. The main purpose of the project was ruined. People are paying the price of it. We want proper implementation of the ongoing projects to get rid of the water-logging problem. Besides, actions should be taken against the persons, who did the corruptions."
Sheikh Ashrafuzzaman, civil society leader and general secretary of Greater Khulna Development Action Coordination Committee, said water-logging was a big problem for the residents of Khulna city. "The dry season is going to be over, but most of the road and drain repair work is still pending. So in next monsoon, we are going to suffer again," he said. He urged the authority concerned to finish the work as soon as possible.
The city corporation is working to eradicate mosquitoes from the city. Spraying adulticide spraying fogger machines in the 31 wards, then spraying larvicide in the wards and lastly, spraying light diesel in the drains of the areas to destroy mosquito eggs are taking place regularly.
However, the residents are still complaining that the mosquito menace has become unbearable, especially, at nights. The activities of the city corporation to eradicate mosquitoes are not much visible, they have alleged.
Shamima Nasrin of Sheikhpara Main Road said, "Mosquito coil does not work. Though the city corporation sprayed insecticides in the drains several days ago, it did not work."
"Everybody have to be aware as mosquitoes can cause many diseases, including malaria and dengue," said a physician at Khulna General Hospital.
Conservancy Officer of the KCC Anisur Rahman said the mosquito menace had increased due to stagnant water in the drains, open safety outlet and little activities to clean flower gardens.
"We are working on removing mosquitoes from the city. But, only insecticides are not sufficient to eradicate mosquitos. To keep it under control, everyone has to be aware of it. The garbage should not be thrown in the drains. Besides, flower gardens, canals and ponds need to be clean," he said.
Chief Engineer of the KCC Ezaz Morshed Chowdhury said, "There are many obstacles in implementing the projects. We are working to detect those. But, various activities are going on to reduce people's sufferings."
Mayor Khalek said, "We are working to ease the sufferings of the city dwellers. I hope the problems will be solved very soon."