Large parts of Mustafa Town and Azam Gardens, residential areas near the Punjab University’s New Campus, have been inundated with rainwater for around a month now, raising concerns among residents about the spread of dengue and other diseases.
Residents said that they had brought up the matter with officials of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) a month ago, but no action had been taken. Mehran Block in Iqbal Town and China Scheme in Baghbanpura face similar problems.
Almost all the parks and playgrounds in Mustafa Town as well as the green belt on the main road are flooded. Large parts of Azam Gardens, a private housing scheme, are also under water. Drain inlets at the sides of the road, instead of draining the water, were actually spewing out water when it rained.
The dengue mosquito lays eggs in standing water that can yield adult mosquitoes in a week. The chief minister, at meetings last week, had ordered Punjab government and city government officials to make sure that rainwater pools were drained quickly so they did not become mosquito breeding grounds.
Muhammad Naveed, a resident of Hidayatullah Block in Mustafa Town, said that residents had been have been complaining to Wasa for a month about its failure to drain away the rainwater.
He said that residents feared that mosquitoes would breed in the water and spread disease. He said that this was the first time this problem had arisen in the area. “Throughout Ramazan, we had to pass through inundated grounds to go for prayers. I urge the chief minister and the DCO to take notice,” he said.
Local Wasa officials said that part of the problem was that manholes on Multan Road had been covered when the National Logistics Cell redid the road over the last couple of years. NLC officials said that it was Wasa’s job to ensure that manholes were connected to drain lines, not of the road builders.
A Wasa official said that the nearby Tech Society, east of Mustafa Town on the other side of the New Campus, had built an illegal connection to the Mustafa Town main line. Also, Iqbal Town had cut off the line to their disposal station. Together with the Tech Society connection, this had resulted in an extra burden on the main line and so it was unable to drain the water standing in Mustafa Town.
The official said that Wasa would try to connect the drain line to Mustafa Town’s disposal station by increasing the number of pumps.
Saleem Khan Niazi, the Wasa director for Iqbal Town, said that he was not aware of the problem and would visit the area to address it.
Tariq Zaman, the personal staff officer to the district coordination officer, said that his boss would personally visit the area. He said that eliminating the threat of dengue was the top priority of the DCO at the present time.
District Coordination Officer Noorul Amin Mengal accompanied an entomologist, the Gulberg town municipal officer, the district monitoring officer and other city government officials in an inspection of Linear Park in Model Town on Thursday.
The team found dengue mosquito larvae at some sites and destroyed them. The DCO told the officials that all parts in the city must be checked for the presence of dengue mosquito larvae.
He said he was satisfied that all city government officials were prepared and motivated to work to prevent the spread of dengue.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 24th, 2012.
More in PunjabPML-N wants to elect own member as PAC chairman