People living in the city’s Korail slum have been exposed to serious risk, as utilities like natural gas and electricity are being provided there hazardously.
Instead of pylons, bamboos are used to carry power cables while gas flows through plastic pipes, posing a serious risk to the life of the slum dwellers.
During a visit to the country’s biggest slum which is the home to more than 60 thousand families, this correspondent also found that the electric cables are of very low quality and both cables and plastic pipes lay scattered around the area dangerously, which may wreak havoc on their life at any time.
Talking to this correspondent, local people said they are gripped by fear, as they may witness a major catastrophe any time.
Though the utility service providers concerned are said to be aware about it, they appear to be showing a total disregard for the life-threatening problem.
Moksed Ullah, a slum dweller, said they know that their lives are in danger but they cannot choose but live in the area.
They have to pay a little amount of money for the use of shanties in the area compared to other areas, he said.
Slum dwellers allege that they have long been begging political leaders and officials concerned to pay attention to their problems, but their pleas have gone unheeded.
Managing Director of Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd Brig Gen (retd) Md Shahid Sarwar said that it is a little bit of difficult to supply electricity in slum areas. They are trying to provide meters for the Korail slum area, he added.
Besides, every family of the slum is alleged to be using the gas illegally.
Officials of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd said the way they are living present a major threat to their life. The plastic pipes through which gas is being supplied are not strong enough and a gas leak from the weak pipes may cause an explosion, resulting in a big disaster.
A Titas official who wishes to remain anonymous said the authorities have cut off the illegal gas supply several times, but some influential persons have the area connected with supplies of gas over and over again.
And they have to meet with a storm of protest from locals when they carry out a drive against the illegal connection, he said.
Mofizur Rahman, commissioner of Ward No. 19, said that Korail slum is beset with numerous problems. It is vital to find a way to avert any serious accident, he added.