Re-appointment of two ‘controversial’ MDs

Two Managing Directors (MD) of Dhaka and Chittagong WASA have been appointed for another three years despite various controversies including non-resolution of water crisis, slowness of projects, irregularities in appointment. Among them, Taksim A Khan of Dhaka Wasa was appointed for the seventh time and AKM Fazlullah of Chittagong Wasa was appointed for the eighth time. The term of both ends in October this year. Two months before this, the local government department issued a re-appointment notification on Thursday.

According to section 28 (2) of the Water Supply and Sewerage Authority Act 1996, Taksim A Khan and AKM Fazlullah have been appointed for a period of three years, according to the notification signed by Mustafizur Rahman, Deputy Secretary of the Water Supply Branch of the Local Government Department. The WASA Act does not say anything about the maximum number of times or the number of years the same person can be appointed to the post of MD.


Trust in ‘controversial’ Taksim

In 2009 WASA MD recruitment notification sought 20 years of mandatory experience in water supply and sanitation or general administration and management at senior level. At that time Taksim A Khan had no experience in this regard. Yet he was hired. At that time his total monthly salary was 1 lakh 20 thousand taka. Currently his salary is 6 lakh 25 thousand taka. His monthly salary has increased by 421 percent in the last 12 years. During the latest corona epidemic, the salary was increased by a quarter of 2 lakh taka. Taksim A Khan, his wife and children are US citizens. He was born in 1956. He has worked in various international organizations before joining WASA.

There are many complaints against Taksim, including increasing project costs, syndicates in the appointment of contractors, contract-based appointments. In 2021, ACC identified 11 corrupt sectors of Dhaka Wasa and submitted a report to the ministry. ACC has recently formed a two-member team to investigate allegations of corruption.

81-year-old Fazlullah 8 times in a row

Chittagong WASA MD AKM Fazlullah is now 81 years old. He has been serving in this position for 14 years. His seven-term term ends on October 30 this year.

Like Taksim, he also sought a 150 percent salary hike in January last year. That is, he wanted to make the salary of 1 lakh 80 thousand taka 4 lakh 50 thousand. When criticized about this, he withdrew the request for salary increase. Apart from this, five major projects have been taken up during the tenure of AKM Fazlullah to develop water supply and sewage system. None of these projects were completed within the stipulated period. Three of them had to increase their expenses. The water crisis in the city is not over. Apart from this, despite the crisis, the price of water has increased 14 times in the last 13 years.

Born in 1942, AKM Fazlullah retired as Superintending Engineer of Chittagong WASA in 2000. Wasa was appointed in 2009 after the Awami League government came to power. However, AKM Fazlullah claimed that during his time the production of Wasa water increased four times. Big projects have been taken up.

Despite the allegations of corruption and irregularities, the question of keeping them in the same position has been raised. In this regard, the former president of Bangladesh Institute of Planners Aktar Mahmud told Prothom Alo that the MDs of Dhaka and Chittagong Wasa have not done such extraordinary things that they should be kept in the same position for another three years. No sustainable system could be developed in the water supply of WASA. Sewerage system is also not successful.

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