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Tuesday, August 16, 2011
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Students wade through dirty water as classes break up at Char Chaktai Chittagong City Corporation High School. The ground floor of the two-storey school building often goes under water not only in raining, but in regular tidal waves that happen twice every month. The photo was taken Sunday. Photo: Anurup Kanti Das
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Be it rainy season or not, it is all the same to the inhabitants of Char Chaktai in the port city as they chronically suffer from waterlogging caused by regular tidal waves.

The residents still are facing inundation even if the raining, which triggered recent flooding of almost one-third of Chittagong city, stopped Wednesday.

In a visit yesterday, this correspondent found that tidal water has been deluging the ground floor of Char Chaktai Chittagong City Corporation High School for the last three days, making the students its worst victim.

Mohammad Rassel, a class-IX student of the school, said, “Tidal water enters our classroom twice a month, and every time it stays for a week or more. When water swamps the classroom, we put our legs on the benches. If the situation deteriorates, our school breaks up early”.

Rassel shared his bitter experience, as he has been witnessing inundation since 2008, the year he got admitted to the high school.

Char Chaktai Government Primary School is located in the same compound of the high school while Eucep Char Chaktai School, a junior school, is situated in the same locality.

More than 4000 students of the three schools in Char Chaktai area of No-19 South Bakalia ward have to endure tidal water twice every month. Each time the ground floor of the school remains under water at least for 5-6 days, virtually making the students suffer inundation about half of every month.

The situation worsens in monsoon as tidal water, accompanied by rainwater, from the river Karnaphuili enters the area through Chaktai Khal (canal).

Locals say the tidal water cannot discharge instantly due to poor drainage system. Inundation continues for 5-6 days every time the tidal onrush hits the area, and it persists for a couple of days more when it rains, they add.

The inhabitants, however, say students of the three schools are the worst sufferers as their study is hampered over a huge period every year.

Mohammad Alauddin, headmaster of Char Chaktai CCC High School, said they could not continue smooth academic activities for two and a half months since the monsoon started in June.

The authorities were forced to suspend classes much before the scheduled break-up time many days or had to keep the school completely shut for a few days since tidal water flooded the classrooms and office rooms at the ground floor of the two-storey school building, he said.

“We could not complete the syllabuses of most of the classes,” he said.

Zobaer Alam, headmaster of Char Chaktai Government Primary School, said around 2600 students of his school undergo the same problem, as they are to cross the school ground, which often goes under waist-deep water following tidal waves, to reach the classrooms.

Students say they get drenched and dirty as they wade through the water. Often they have to wait inside classrooms for long even after the school breaks up.

Mohammad Imran, a class-V student, said when water recedes it leaves bad odour all over the classroom, making it difficult to stay inside.

Md Kashem, a dweller of the area, said it has been an endless problem, as the local representative remains indifferent.

Contacted, ward councillor Yasin Chowdhury Ashu said they would take steps of renovating the drains after the rainy season ends.

He said setting up of a sluice gate at the mouth of the Chaktai canal to prevent entering of tidal water from the river could be a permanent solution to such waterlogging.

He said he would place the proposal of setting up of a sluice gate to the CCC.

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