Editorial
4 days ago

What people expect from DNCC's budget for FY 25

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Following the passing of the national budget for 2024-25, the local government bodies of the capital city have also come up their budgets for the current fiscal year (FY 2024-25). As usual, the Dhaka North City Corporation, for instance, announced the budget for FY 2024-25, which is a projection of the local government body's expected revenue earnings and expenditure during this fiscal year. At Tk.55.94 billion, the DNCC's budget amount is obviously impressive demonstrating a growing confidence of the budget-makers in their ability to collect required revenues to finance the development work within its constituency. That is no doubt welcome news seeing that the city corporation is learning to stand on its own two feet without depending on support from the central government or contribution from various other sources to manage its affairs. At the same time, it also implies that the DNCC authority believes that the city residents under its jurisdiction are willing to pay the taxes and other charges in return for the service it is expected to deliver during this fiscal year.

But what are the city amenities and services the city corporation in question are supposed to render to the satisfaction of its constituents? Notably, of all the problems the residents under either of the city's two local government bodies are afflicted by, two are most pronounced--water-logging and incidence of dengue. And both are interrelated as mosquitoes including the most deadly variety, Aedes aegypti, the carrier of the dengue virus, thrive in stagnated water. One may recall at this point how helpless the city corporation authorities appeared in the face of incidence of dengue that took epidemic proportions across the capital city last year (in 2023).  The reason is obvious as the city corporations failed to effectively destroy the breeding grounds of the Aedes mosquito.

Even in May last, a survey conducted by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) found high densities of Aedes larvae in 41 wards of the two city corporations and among those 12 wards are under the DNCC. What is concerning is that the survey result constituted the findings of a pre-monsoon survey done during last April. The city residents are yet to know what measures have meanwhile been taken by the DNCC authority to exterminate the Aedes larvae already detected and what is the level of preparedness to combat the possible monsoon time and post-monsoon threats from the virtually indestructible dengue vectors.

Consider in this connection that the city's drainage system often gets clogged due to accumulation of waste materials originating either from the sites of road digging and other construction and development activities, or from careless dumping of refuse from factories, shopping places or households. And the drains so blocked are also the cause of water-logging in city, especially after heavy rains. Naturally, the public would like to know about and see the required concrete actions are in progress to address these issues. That would definitely  reassure the taxpaying public and encourage them also to respond positively to help meet expenditure the DNCC authorities are going to make from the bigger budget prepared for the current fiscal year.

To all appearances, as part of that preparation to address city dwellers' woes including water-logging, in May this calendar year, the DNCC mayor organised a three-day exhibition of waste materials that choke drains and litter public places. And the obvious objective was to make the public aware of the issue so they might avoid throwing away such objects on the city roads or dump those into drains or other channels through which water can flow. Of course, public has a role in keeping the city clean. But more important is to set examples before the citizens by the public representatives themselves through delivering basic services to their constituents and thereby inspire them to emulate.

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