Published:  01:11 AM, 17 July 2017

Please don't hurt us, Mr. Mayor

Please don't hurt us, Mr. Mayor

As if we were not being punished enough. As if we deserved tougher times. As if we should always learn the hard way. Take a closer look at Bangladesh right now. The current situation is most tragic and horrifying ? the unending deluge in greater parts of the country and the mosquito ravage in other parts. The whole country is inflicted with floods and virus. See the great misery we are struck with!

What should the government and the institutional guardians do? Simple and straight. The government departments should have responded to the crisis much before they did. Not that it has done so effectively even at a later period. We are still in danger of this mosquito virus that originated long time back in Africa. The government is still in state of confusion or indifference, we do not know. One thing is clear that there has not been a proper comeback to meet this crisis.

We have the rampaging water devouring our lands all over. The plights of the flood-stricken people are there for us to see. Their miseries are indescribable. No shelter, no food and also no future to behold. People, during these natural crises, look to heavens for succor. And here on earth, we look to the stronger ones for help and support. In the city, we are struck with mosquito-borne virus, which has taken a very bad shape. Whether we like to call this a scourge or not, we are in a serious crisis that should be enough to convince all and sundry, and we need to address the situation in the quickest manner and effectively.

Not much has been done thus far. There is no significant sign of 'destruction efforts' of mosquitoes by any authority. Meanwhile, people from important quarters have already called for the resignation of two Mayors and the health minister. We know they will not quit. For they know the culture of our country very well. They believe that they will not be taken to task. They suppose it is the other party which is to be blamed. So the blame game gets underway. Censuring each other is a convenient practice in this land.

When matters relating city issues come in, it is only natural that the city guardians (we also describe them as city fathers) will be called into question, they will be expected to take care of all crises that are under their purview. They are expected to act faster than we think and speak out. But more often than not, we are tested to the extreme. We have to come to the end of the tolerating limits, patience and perseverance almost run out, destructions complete or the loss beyond repair, then only we get their kind attention, and that too, with a rude look and comment on our plight.

When we come up with our problems, most of the time, the city corporation high-ups and even the Mayors often show signs of intolerance and disgust. When they are faced with question on their negligence or failure, they retort in a way as though we had committed utmost crime by asking them 'silly' questions. North City Mayor Annisul Huq has been very actively making rounds in his jurisdiction. He came forward with bold initiatives of cleaning up areas that were forcefully occupied by various elements in parts of the city. He took interest in the artistic beauty of the city. All sounds good and pious.

However, whenever we talk about water-logging, drainage and other menaces of our daily lives, he is found reacting unhappily in receiving those queries. He answers in not-too-friendly-manner. People still are in a state of confusion as to the rationale of introducing the so-called modern busses (Dhaka-Chaka) in the Gulshan area which charges unreasonable fare for short distances that it covers. People are still at their wit's end as to why colorful rickshaws are plying in Gulshan and extract high fares from hapless commuters.

These changes came immediately after the Holey Artisan tragedy. It was then told that these would be added facilities to the Gulshan dwellers in the wake of the terror attack. We were told that extra measures would be taken for the security of the area. What have these Dhaka-Chaka and colorful rickshaws got to do with security of the area? Only to beautify? Sorry Sir, it's not beauty, rather a burden.

Lately, regarding the 'Chikunguniya' issue he retorted in so many words and phrases that it surprised, shocked and embarrassed many. Although he sought apologies for his unkind remarks, he should have thought it better before he uttered those lines.  He could have explained and pacified the city dwellers in soothing terms. Perhaps no one hinted at his going indoors and killing mosquitoes, no one would dare to think of him to tuck mosquito nets inside all bedrooms, no one would suggest him to clean up the water containers or bins inside every house. He could have admitted the faults, if any, on part of his city administration. He could have assured more attention and faster actions from his end.

It's true that enough is not being done from the city administration office. It is also true that we, the citizens, should also be more responsible in keeping things under control that we can. City 'fathers' have to be more tolerant and residents more aware. The last word-- honorable mayors, please don't hurt us.

The writer is a journalist, columnist, biographer and peace activist. Email: malisattar@outlook.com

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