First Rain Sweeps Away Wasa Claims
The first monsoon rain on Monday exposed the claims of the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) as most of the city localities submerged in the ankle-deep water.
The rain, which hit the city early morning and continued till evening, submerged roads and streets of different city localities, especially low line ones, as the drainage system failed to function properly. All the arrangements and plans went down the drain, forcing the people to wade through deep pools of water for several hours.
The accumulation of rainwater on roads in central and other parts of Lahore exposed the poor planning of the civic agencies and inadequate drainage and sewerage facilities. The deplorable situation could get worse in case of future heavy rains, if necessary measures are not taken to avert the situation.
The failure of the WASA in taking effective measures to control the problems entailed with the monsoon season adversely affected routine life in the provincial capital and a large number of people missed reaching their destinations due to pools of rainwater outside their homes. Till Monday night, thousands of people in different localities were inconvenienced due to terrible civic conditions as rain water brought out filth and garbage on roads. With no permanent sewerage and drainage system, the roads and streets are still submerged in rain water, making it difficult for people to come out of their houses.
Instead of making permanent effective arrangements to overcome disastrous situation in the monsoon, the WASA’s main stress has been the desilting of drains, sewer lines and the purchase of de-watering sets. If the cleaning of drains and sewer lines had be done properly and timely, the situation could have been entirely different.
Shahdra, Data Nagar, Qila Lachman Singh, Qila Gujar Sing, Tajpura, Chungi Amer Sidhu, Kot Lakhpat, Township, Nisbat Road, G.T Road, Garhi Shahu, Mozang, Allama Iqbal Town, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Shad Bagh, Misri Shah, Bagbanpura and Mughalpura were the most affected by the rain. Most of the roads turned into filthy, mini lakes with tones of waste material and plastic bags floating on the water. This causes a great deal of nuisance to the public, especially motorists who have to pass through an ordeal with the traffic flow coming at a snail pace.
Many residents expressed their resentment over the WASA’s poor performance, saying the sewerage lines had been choked for the last many days and the WASA concerned staff had not come to redress the complaints.
On the other hand, WASA officials blamed the Solid Waste Management (SWM) department staff and the general public for adding to the problems by dumping waste into drains and sewer channels. Ongoing strike of SWM staff has played a major role in chocking of sewer lines in residential areas, said a press release issued by WASA here Monday. It said due to severe load shedding, the WASA used generators to run its pumping stations.
Pedestrians are, perhaps, more on the receiving end due to the deteriorating civic situation. The footpaths have either disappeared in accumulated water or occupied by the encroachers.
The WASA officials said the removal of encroachments from drains was not an easy task. Whenever, we tried to launch a clean-up operation, the government stopped us following protest demonstration arranged by the official land grabbers, they said, adding that the removal of encroachments was not possible unless the government took a firm decision.
According to MET officials, 72 mm rain was recorded at Baghbanpura side, 42 mm at Jail road and 56 mm at Lahore airport. They have predicted further rains during the next 24 to 48 hours, saying heavy monsoon current was approaching the area. Several other cities also witnessed widespread rains.