Taqsem gets extension as Wasa MD for 3 more years

Ignoring widespread criticism, the government yesterday reappointed Taqsem A Khan as the Dhaka Wasa managing director for three more years.

The move came after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the appointment put forward by the Wasa board.

Mohammad Ibrahim, additional secretary (water supply wing) of Local Government Division, said the PM has approved the file.

The LGRD and cooperatives ministry yesterday issued a circular mentioning that Taqsem was reappointed for the next three years from October 14.

The decision of his reappointment was made in the Wasa board's 97th special meeting held virtually on September 19.

Following this, a writ petition was filed with the High Court on September 24 challenging the legality of the MD's reappointment process.

The reappointment comes at a time when the hearing of the petition is pending with the court.

Taqsem has been the Dhaka Wasa MD for the last 11 years. He was appointed for four consecutive terms of varying lengths. His current term will expire on October 14.

When he took office in 2009, most parts of the capital used to be waterlogged after heavy rains. The situation remains unchanged.

Residents still complain of getting dirty and foul-smelling water from Wasa.

There is no proper sewer system in about 80 percent of the capital, like it was 11 years ago.

A Transparency International Bangladesh report published on April 17 last year said 91 percent of Wasa subscribers had to boil the water to make it drinkable and, in the process, burned natural gas worth Tk 332 crore a year.

The TIB findings also showed that nearly 45 percent of the subscribers got inadequate supply of water, while about 35 percent complained of being supplied poor-quality water throughout the year.

Allegations of massive irregularities and corruption in the small and large projects of Wasa were raised in the TIB research.

Taqsem was widely criticised last year for claiming that Dhaka Wasa water was 100 percent safe at source.

He also told reporters on various occasions that water-related issues can be attributed to technical problems, and often denied reports of corruption and mismanagement in Wasa.

Meanwhile, the government yesterday also reappointed Chattogram Wasa Managing Director AKM Fazlullah for three more years.

According to another circular issued by the LGRD and cooperatives ministry, the reappointment will be effective from November 1.

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