RAWALPINDI: As dengue season rolls around, residents of the thickly populated Union Council-32 in Amarpura along Murree Road are fearful of an outbreak.
The area frequently inundates during rains owing to a clogged and dilapidated sewerage system which is open in many parts of the UC. Moreover, the area lacks proper facilities such as playgrounds, graveyards, tube-wells and filtration plants to supply of clean drinking water for a rapidly growing population.
With the UC Chairman Raja Shahid Mehmood hailing from the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) obtaining funds to resolve issues has been a challenge of its own.
Mehmood oversees densely populated areas of the council consisting of localities such as Amarpura, New Amarpura, Sarfaraz Road, Zafarul Haq Road and Dabo road.
A twice-elected Nazim, he has successfully delivered many development projects in the past.
But now, he claims he is and the area is being victimized for his political affiliation with the opposition PPP.
While other UCs get tens of millions of rupees in development funds, my council was allocated only a paltry Rs9.5 million, Mehmood complained.
Moreover, he added that most of that money had been spent on the streets — an area which did not require the utmost attention of the government.
Rather, Mehmood highlighted the areas which need more attention — street lights to tackle the rising street crime in the area. The UC chairman says he has been able to start a programme for installing LED lights to resolve that issue.
Moreover, he wants to upgrade the government girl schools in the area to a high school. The UC has a primary and a middle school for girls, but the neighbourhood lacks a government-run educational institution for boys here.
But most importantly, he wants to improve and upgrade the sewerage and the water supply network which are old and decaying.
With low-lying areas of the UC flooded during the rains, Mehmood is fearful what heavy monsoon showers will do come July.
Moreover, with the open drains a hotbed for health hazards such as dengue, he says it is crucial that the dispensary is improved and a qualified doctor is appointed there. The government-run dispensary in the area is the only source of medical aid for residents of the UC.
He also wants the gas and electric supply systems improved, noting that the streets had been dug to lay gas and water pipelines, but the project had been left incomplete and now the dug up roads only cause problems to residents and commuters alike.
But some part of his budget goes into paying rent for the UC office.
Mehmood says that while land for the office had been allocated, unfortunately, the building for the UC office has yet to be built.
UC-32 residents Muhiduddin, Raja Amjad Mehmood, Junaid Riaz, Tariq, Abdul Rauf and Lateef said that if the victimization of their area did not stop, they would have no other option but to approach the Supreme Court against the government.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2018.