Lethargy to clear drains may prove fatal in Pindi

Municipal authorities squabble on ‘written orders’ while cantonments shy away from encroachment

Cantonment board officials oversee drain clearing while the Nullah Leh under Rawalpindi municipal corporation is full of trash. PHOTO: AGHA MEHROZ/EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI: Even as rescue officials search for the bodies of three people who had drowned in the trash-riddled drains of the city on the eve of Eidul Fitr, the Rawalpindi administration is yet to take decisive action in cleaning the drains of garbage with officials passing the buck on to each other waiting for ‘orders’.

The city administration, though, neglects its duties at its own peril since heavy rains in the monsoon season — about to begin in 10-days-time — expected to flood low-lying areas of the city.

But where the city is lethargic, the cantonment boards have at least started some work.

Judicial commission seeks plan for cleaning of drains

Damage zones

As many as 11 major drains, falling under the jurisdiction of the Rawalpindi municipal authority, pass through several densely populated areas of the city before draining into the Nullah Leh.

Their capacity is limited by the encroachment built on either side. It is further impacted by the rubbish which is frequently dumped into it, there is a serious threat of flooding in the city in the event of heavy rains, as has occurred in the past when at least 11 people were reported to have drowned in overflowing drains and flooded streets.

The waste management company, responsible for the task, appears to be reluctant in engaging heavy machinery to dredge the drains until it receives written orders.

The district administration of the city, though, claims to have issued the written orders sought by the waste management company, urging it to ensure that the drains are clean before the monsoon rains begin.

Explaining the demands for written orders, sources claim that the waste management company had to face a number of objections during its annual audits when it cleaned up the drains without them.

Cantonments clear drains

Parts of the city which fall under the administration of the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board, have realised the threat that clogged drains pose and have begun cleaning the 14 sewage canals under its jurisdiction.

While heavy machinery can be seen clearing drains, the cantonment authorities have done little to restore the capacity of the drains by acting against the encroachers.

Choked nullahs may cause urban flooding

This is precisely why work on clearing the six drains falling within the Chaklala cantonment has stalled.

Raja Irfan Imtiaz, the vice president of the Chaklala Cantonment, told Daily Express that their board has initiated a drive against the encroachment lining drains while they have also arranged for machinery to clean the drains.

He claimed that the board will complete the task before the monsoon rains roll around.

In the Wah Cantonment, however, its 31 sewage drains remain dotted with encroachment from residential and commercial establishments.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2018.


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