Titas MD’s ‘advice’ indicates apathy to people’s misery
GOVERNMENT officials and ministers appear to have made it a pastime to make irresponsible and flippant comments as suggestion to the woes of ordinary people. On Tuesday, according to a report published in New Age on Wednesday, the managing director of Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company advised consumers to save energy — in this case gas — by not using boiled water in the preparation of roti (flat bread). This, rather unsolicited suggestion, appears to carry the same hallmark of a series of suggestions coming the way of ordinary people from the highest officials of the state responsible for meeting their needs. After all, when the prices of essentials in the kitchen market spiralled out of the reach of the ordinary people, the then commerce minister told us to ‘eat less’ and the finance minister suggested that the people refrain from going to kitchen markets a day of the week. More recently, the state minister for home affairs told journalists to ‘to keep a distance’ from policemen to avoid, essentially, being assaulted. Now, to save gas, we are being told to cut down on our use of boiled water, if not stop using it altogether.
This, to put it simply, is a horrendous suggestion. In a country where nearly 80 per cent of people suffer from the lack of access to safe drinking water to varying degrees, the Titas managing director’s suggestion is seemingly out of place. In a follow-up report published in New Age on Thursday, experts and top government officials, including the director of the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, have unanimously binned the Titas managing director’s suggestion saying that it is not at all safe to use water for cooking unless it is boiled. The Dhaka WASA chief himself admitted that water supplied by WASA could be contaminated. Although WASA supplies pure water at its source points it often gets contaminated through leakages in pipelines and at unclean reservoirs. By not boiling water, people could suffer from typhoid, jaundice, worm infestation, diarrhoea, cholera, skin diseases, allergy and even cancer. In fact, experts say, not only should people not drink or cook with water that has not been boiled, but even bathing with such water can have harmful consequences.
Given these facts, the Titas managing director owes an apology to the people at large, for essentially suggesting something that can surely harm their health. Even the more pertinent authority in the matter, the Dhaka WASA chief, did not deem it worthy to back the Titas managing director’s suggestion. Yes, there is in fact a significant amount of wastage of gas, both in domestic and industrial use, be it through the use of inefficient kitchen stove or boilers, but until and unless the authorities can plug the reasons for these wastage, it is futile and ridiculous to try and stop ordinary people from ensuring the safety of their health. If people are to use water supplied by WASA without boiling them, then WASA must first ensure the safety and hygiene of such water.
comments powered by Disqus