Threat Of Flood Hampers Business In Provincial Capital
LAHORE: Almost a million people in the western part of Lahore are living under the threat of a flood, which, if it hits one of the key industrial areas of the provincial capital, could cause losses amounting to billions of rupees, Daily Times has learnt.
The areas, including Shahdara, Bund Road, Khokhar Village, Bhuma Jhuggian, Karol Ghaati and several other villages, house foundries, re-rolling mills, flourmills and workshops in addition to scores of cattle farms and nomadic settlements. A majority of these structures have been built within the prohibited area making up the riverbed of the Ravi River. Officials of the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) also issued a notification on Monday dispelling the fear amongst locals that flooding would occur, which had been created by an earlier notice.
Assurances: The Meteorological Department also issued a statement on Tuesday saying there was only a low-level flood predicted in the upstream and downstream of Baloki, while the water flow was normal at the Jasar, Ravi Siphon and Shahdara points. The Meteorological Department has predicted partly cloudy weather with chances of more rain in the provincial capital.
Fears: Residents still dread a flood in case India releases water into the Ravi River after receiving heavy rains. The constant uncertainty has also disturbed routine business activity in these areas, as people are becoming more sceptical with every passing day that flooding will not take place.
Talking to Daily Times, Munir Ahmad, a foundry owner from Shadbagh said, “Uncertainty and fear are looming large over everyone… be it a mill owner or a milkman or a nomad, everyone thinks that if a flood hits the city, it is going to sweep away everything… even a normal-sized industrial set-up in this area is worth millions of rupees, not to speak of bigger ones… then there are cattle holdings and small settlements, all of which combined make a small city on their own.” He said the people still had faith in Allah, as there were many channels through which water could flow into the city in case of a flood. He said businessmen had their residences in other parts of the city, but the real threat was to the livestock and various settlers who had nowhere else to go. Moreover, he said big cities were providing all possible help to flood-hit areas, and if a big city like Lahore was hit by a flood, the situation would be worse. He said the credibility of the government is the same at home as it is at the international level, as people prefer to give their donations to non-government organisations and the army.