Residents of Kohati Bazaar near Murree Road have long been perturbed by a sewerage drain that regularly overflows, flooding the area with its contents.
Approximately nine kilometres long, the drain passes through some of the thickly populated areas of the city before joining Nullah Leh.
Kohati Bazaar falls in Union Council (UC) 33 Kartarpura and is a low-lying area which can easily be flooded by rainwater.
A visit to the locality reveals that most residents have raised the height of their houses to avoid rain and sewage. A large number of residents have raised the floors of their houses by as much as five feet.
“We have raised the houses to avoid sewage water. It would often enter our houses and inundate the area, leaving a foul stench,” said Chaudhary Masoodul Hassan Chattha, who has been living in the area for over 40 years.
He said locals had sent an application to Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in October 2015for cleaning the drain and address the problem. In the application, they highlighted the problem and the blockage in flow of the drain caused by a pipeline passing through a bridge on Murree Road near Naz Cinema. He said that they also indicated the need for dredging and cleaning of the drain.
The complaint cell of the chief minister in Lahore referred the complaint back to Rawalpindi district coordination officer, Chattha told. The officer assured residents about proper dredging of the drain but to no avail so far, he added.
He further said the government needed to retrieve encroached land along the drain and further deepen it.
UC 33 Chairman Sami Gul, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that he had discussed the problem with elected representatives and the district administration.
He noted that different pipelines passing through the bridge on Murree Road had narrowed the width of the bridge, obstructing the flow of water.
He said that Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC) recently cleaned the drain, adding that the situation had improved since then.
Responding to a question, the UC chairman said further dredging of the drain was required as it was necessary to clean the bed. He also admitted that the drain had become narrower with passage of time as residents had encroached land along the drain.
RWMC Managing Director Irfan Ahmed Qureshi said that the company used a special crane for dredging of the drain before the recent spell of rains in March. He noted that there were no reports about overflowing of the drain by the residents.
Qureshi said that residents also needed to avoid throwing waste in the drain. He said that the company was still busy in cleaning the drain at other points.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2016.
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