Towards increasing service quality, Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) has launched helpline 'Wasa Link'. Customers can call in with service-related complaints or for billing or other information any time of day and expect the reported problems to be solved within 24 hours. If this is not possible, they will be informed and the problem solved at the earliest. Action will be taken against officials who fail to heed the complaints. Officials are already being trained towards providing this new service, according to Wasa authorities.
The initiative, no doubt, is a good one. How much difference it will make, however, is a different matter. Communicating service-related difficulties is only a part of the problem, the main issue is service itself. While it is well and good that Wasa has taken such an initiative to formally entertain customer complaints, we hope that it is as well-equipped to address them.
The city is plagued by water related crises such as water shortage, contaminated water, burst pipes and overflowing sewage. While it will be a relief for the suffering citizens to be able to call a direct helpline to report their grievances, the authorities must be prepared to take prompt and effective action to solve their problems. They must be trained appropriately in this regard, not only in receiving customer complaints but in conveying them to the relevant officials and ensuring that proper action is taken and promptly. And for this, the quality of service by Wasa itself needs to be improved, which will depend on its staff, their training, equipment, etc. These must be upgraded in order to fulfil the needs of the customers. The hotline is a means of calling for help -- what help will be offered will depend on how those at the other end respond, and that will depend on more than dialling a five-digit number.