Washing hands is one of the major preventions that can help people from getting infected from the deadly virus, but most of the hand wash basins, set up in different public places of Nilphamari when the first wave of Covid-19 hit the country last year, are not working.
When frequent hand washing has become a mandatory practice, the basins in the district are lying in a neglected condition, said locals.
Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) at the initial stage of the pandemic in April-May installed 28 hand wash basins at different crowded places in all six upazilas of the district.
Of them, 13 have been set up in Sadar upazila and the rest in five upazilas at a cost of Tk 8.40 lakh.
With a second wave of the virus waiting to break out, this correspondent recently visited different public places to see the condition of the basins and found many of the basins lying useless.
At many places, there is no arrangement of water supply and in some points there is either no soap or the water taps are damaged. Only a few basins are working but those may go out of order at anytime.
A basin is set up in the district's biggest market Dhelapir haat near Saidpur municipality but it is lying in neglect for a long time as its two water taps have been broken.
Sabed Ali, 50, a tea stall owner in the market beside the basin, said "Just one week after installation of the basin, the both taps got damaged."
This correspondent also witnessed weeds and grass grown inside the basin as no official came to repair it since its installation.
Another basin near important Bangabandhu chattar in the district town is also not working for want of water and soap as the water supply line is connected with the water reservoir of local Collectorate School and College which is closed for months due to coronavirus outbreak.
On the Kishoreganj upazila parishad premises, the hand wash basin, set up by DPHE near upazila parishad hall room, is also found abandoned as both taps and soap containers went missing.
Locals alleged that none came to make it operative again.
However, the basin was found in operation at UNO office compound in Kishoreganj upazila where people were washing hands with soap before taking service.
Nilphamari DPHE Executive Engineer Mokarram Hossain admitted that problems have been created in some basins, which would be repaired. They have manpower shortage to monitor the condition of all the basins round the clock.