Like previous year, the playground in front of Rakhine Mahila Market in Patuakhali’s Kalapara upazila has gone under rainwater impeding commercial and cultural activities in the area.
The three-acre field remains inundated from May to October due to poor drainage system, said traders, who run shops at the market frequented by tourists.
One shop owner, Umeng Uchu, said the nuisance occurred last year after some shops were set up on the edge of the field.
Those shops blocked the old drain lines resulting into waterlogging, she said.
“Customers get irritated as their dresses get dirty while shopping here,” said the lady.
While talking to this correspondent earlier this month, Abu Bakar Siddique, a tourist from Gazipur, said, “I visited Kuakata in the dry season last year. The field looked great then but now all I can see is knee-deep stagnant water.”
Abul Kalam, another tourist from Barishal, said, “People come to Kuakata to buy goodies from the Rakhine Market. It is difficult to shop when the field is flooded,” he said urging the authorities concerned to take due steps without a delay.
Kuakata municipality had built a stage on the east side of the field for holding public meetings and cultural programmes. Local cultural organisations and political parties used it on occasions like Victory Day and Independence Day.
“The stage is no longer in use as the field remains inundated for six months. No cultural activity could be held in about last two years due to reoccurring waterlogging,” said Amir Hossain, a leader of a local cultural organisation.
Moreover, youths are not being able to play on the field.
The upazila administration had built two helipads on the field for easy landing of political leaders. Those have also been submerged by rainwater.
Kuakata Municipality Mayor Abdul Barek Mollah said a pipeline was temporarily built last year to remove the water but some Rakhine people broke it.
“They broke it because it touched parts of their land and homes. They anticipated that it was a permanent thing,” said the mayor.
“In coming dry season, we will dump sand on the field and build a permanent drainage system. We will also renovate the stage,” he added.