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High Court orders test on samples of WASA water from 34 points in Dhaka

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-05-21 20:37:48 BdST

A family from Jurain carries a jar and placards to the Dhaka WASA building to serve juice made of water supplied by the state-owned utility provider to its Managing Director Taqsem A Khan who claimed that WASA water is completely pure to drink. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

The High Court has ordered tests on the water supplied by Dhaka WASA by collecting samples from 34 points in Dhaka City.

The court ordered the committee of four formed to test the water to report by Jul 2.

The water samples should be tested at ICDDRB, Bureau of Research, Testing  and Consultation in BUET and in the lab of the Department of Microbiology in Dhaka University, said the court.

It ordered Dhaka WASA to pay Tk 170,000 for the tests as each sample test will cost Tk 5,000. The local government secretary has been asked to collect the amount from WASA.

It also ordered collection of the samples from four water sources, ten distribution zones known as MODS zone, ten vulnerable zones based on consumers’ complaints, and from ten random places.

On Tuesday, the bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam issued the orders after Dr Sabita Rizwana Rahman, chairman in microbiology department, presented her opinion on cost reduction and the scenario of the water sample testing.

Deputy Attorney General Motahar Hossain Saju represented the local government ministry as Tanvir Ahmed was the legal counsel for the petitioner.

The state submitted a report to the court on behalf of the local government ministry on Thursday mentioning 50 points in Dhaka City receiving filthy water, based on the complaints received through the WASA hotline over the past three months.

At least Tk 7.5 million will be needed to run a test collecting 355 water samples from 10 zones, Dhaka WASA had said that day.

The High Court then ordered Dr Sabita to give her opinion on the issue of cost reduction for the test.

There is no scientific base of the complaint of ‘polluted water’ in general, said Dr Sabita. But any coloured, stinky or muddy water is not acceptable, she explained.

“Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental right 9f the people. The authorities should adopt necessery measures if the water sample brought to the complaint centre contains any of those signs.”

Dhaka WASA had 272,844 connections to supply water in 2009 which has increased to 387,177 as of now, said Dr Sabita.

“The filthy or muddy water need not be tested. That is already rejected. We should test the clear water which is risky for people’s health; especially the one that spreads diseases when consumed.”

She stressed the need of testing the water from the neighbourhood from where repeated complaints are coming about polluted water within seven days to get a clear picture of pollution.