Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink

Karachi's streets submerged with water in aftermath of two-day downpour

A tractor trying to dispense and evaporate the water accumulated on University Road in the aftermath of first winter rains. Accumulation of garbage and pools of rain water worsened the sanitation and traffic condition in the city. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: MA Jinnah Road on Sunday was a true depiction of the state of the entire city after two days of incessant rainfall.

The road was flooded with rainwater, leaving no dry passage to enter the old Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) building, where the city's civic matters are expected to be dealt with.

Some distance from the old KMC building, the Wazir Mansion in Kharadar - the birth place of Quaid-i-Azam - was also surrounded by the rainwater. "All the shops and businesses of the area have been shut for the last two days," said Qamar, a resident of the area. Apart from that, several areas of Lyari remained inundated with rainwater on Sunday.

"The rain, which is a blessing for the rest of the city, becomes problematic for us," lamented Hassan Abbas, a resident of Lyari. Most of the streets of Saddar - the most bustling market of the city - could not also be cleared of rainwater.

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District Municipal Corporation (DMC) South chairman Malik Fayyaz assured The Express Tribune that 90% of Saddar and Lyari will be cleared of rainwater before Monday (today). "It rained heavily till 4pm on Saturday," he said, reasoning that rainwater kept flowing to MA Jinnah Road and near Wazir Mansion till late in the night since the rain drains were choked.

He said the area surrounding the old KMC building has been experiencing this for the past 12 years. "The storm water drains located on MA Jinnah Road are not functional," he said, adding that MA Jinnah Road falls under KMC's jurisdiction. In Lyari, he said there are two big nullahs - Pitchet and Kalri nullahs - both of which have already been cleaned.

Meanwhile, KMC's director of municipal services, Masood Alam, did not respond to repeated phone calls.

In District East, the situation was a little better as University Road, which is under construction, remained flooded with rainwater until Saturday night. An official of DMC East, Irfan, said that they worked on the streets the whole of Saturday night to drain out the water.

However, due to the repairs, the entire University Road has turned into a puddle where it is extremely difficult for any vehicle to ply. "Since the road was under construction, we were unable to drain out the water through the rain drains or sewage lines," said Irfan, adding that the water will dry up by Monday morning. A resident of the area, Navaid Iqbal, said that if the water did not dry up by Monday, traffic will become a nightmare on University Road.

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Due to the construction of the Green Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, the traffic situation was already precarious in District Central and after the two days of rainfall, the traffic diversions have sunk in different areas. According to the coordinator of DMC Central chairman Rehan Hashmi, Sheharyar, the major problems occurred in DMC Central due to the construction of the Green Line BRT, which is out of their domain. However, he said that the company responsible for the construction of the Green Line, Karachi Infrastructure Development Limited was immediately taken on board regarding the situation. The major problems he highlighted were at Sakhi Hassan Chowrangi, where the road had caved in, at Anda Morr, in certain areas of Nazimabad and at People's Chowrangi, where due to the sewage line the entire road was already in a bad state.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2017.


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