We are surprised that even after three months since the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against 61 people for mismanagement and corruption in the construction of dams in the haor areas, the water and resources minister, at a recent dialogue, would remark that an onslaught of rats caused the damage. Though he did admit that there could have been corruption he said that this was part of the 'total system where corruption exists'.
This is hardly any consolation for the 46.7 lakh people of the haor regions who have been severely affected by the flash floods this year. Crops have been lost, houses, roads, culverts and embankment destroyed. The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) has found in its study that a number of embankments had been destroyed due to poor maintenance. Certainly this study and the ACC's findings point to negligence and irregularities of the officials involved in the building and maintenance of the embankments. In the wake of such compelling evidence, what is the purpose of diluting the enormity of such irregularity that has caused immense hardship and misery as well as nullify development efforts of the government?
Instead of theorising that rodents had a part to play in the damage of embankments it is crucial that the focus is zeroed in on human negligence and unethical practices of certain officials. As one of the discussants at the dialogue pointed out – the government should do a study to find out why a particular road is damaged every year. Monitoring the maintenance of embankments and other infrastructure, is the government's job, in particular the ministry concerned.
Now that the ACC has charged the individuals responsible for the damaged embankments we hope necessary action will be taken against them. The government must remain vigilant of future irregularities during the rebuilding process in these devastated areas.