Sunday, October 20, 2019

Dhaka WASA boss refuses to have lemonade made from water he claims is drinkable

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-04-23 20:42:36 BdST

A family from Dhaka’s Jurain came to the WASA office on Tuesday to offer lemonade made from water supplied by the utility to its Managing Director Taqsem A Khan.

The family from Jurain were protesting against Taqsem’s claim that water supplied by WASA is completely drinkable.

The WASA boss, however, declined drinking lemonade made by someone else.

Mizanur Rahman, his wife Shamim Hashem Khuki, and their daughter along with their family friend Matiur Rahman started waiting for Taqsem on the stairs of the WASA Bhaban at Karwan Bazar in the morning.

A jug filled with water of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority or WASA, some lemons and sugar were kept ready there to prepare lemonade.

Filth was floating in the water when Mizanur, who introduced himself as a social worker, showed the jug and glass filled with water.

Police had initially barred them saying the WASA managing director was not in the office, according to the family.

“The water supply pipes of Dhaka WASA in Jurain are 40 years old. We never drink the WASA water but use it for other purposes as we are compelled to do so,” Mizanur told the reporters.

“This is medium quality water. We get worse than this,” he said, showing the water he brought in the jug from his home.

In 2012, they collected signatures from 3,500 people and appealed to the WASA managing director to supply safe drinking water, according to him.

“But he never took any initiative and belittled us. How can he say now that the WASA water is pure!

“We are here to make him drink the water supplied by his agency. It’s a lie that the water is hundred percent drinkable. He should apologise and resign over the statement,” continued Mizanur.

He also said he would not pay WASA bills unless it supplies safe drinking water.

Transparency International, Bangladesh or TIB on Apr 17 said in a report that at least 91 percent households in Dhaka burn 363.7 million cubic metres of gas worth Tk 3.32 billion annually in order to boil the water supplied by the WASA before drinking it.

Terming the study “unprofessional, concocted and a bid to belittle WASA’s image”, Taqsem had said three days later, “Dhaka WASA’s water is 100 percent drinkable in World Health Organization standard.”

On being asked about the protests against his claim on Tuesday, he told over phone that the protesters can speak to a director if they have any complaint about filth in WASA water.

Asked whether he will drink lemonade from WASA water, he said: “No, I won’t drink lemonade made by someone else.”