Monsoon season is fast approaching, however, the Traffic Engineering and Planning Agency (Tepa) has been unable to complete the works it had started in various areas in Lahore to improve the drainage and better cope with the rains. Now, as rains have started, the under construction roads are proving hard to cross due to being inundated with water. The construction material scattered around the sites is making it cumbersome for pedestrians.
TEPA had selected 22 points in the city to work on as those were deemed ‘problem areas’ during the monsoon season. These points were not properly linked with any drain system and it took days for rain water accumulation to dry out. MM Alam Road, Lawrence Road and Queens Road have for years been dried out manually or using Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) water pumps for hours.
Wasa managing director (MD) Javed Iqbal, this year, identified 22 crucial points which needed to be connected to the Wasa drainage system. Tepa began the work in the last week of April after getting approval earlier on in the month. The target date was May 31 which was later extended to June 15. However, many drains still need to be worked on which has led to excavation on many roads. Some roads are entirely closed which has been irksome to motorists and pedestrians alike.
So far 10 storm water drains have been constructed at a cost of Rs130.8 million. The remaining 12 points consist of gully gratings and sewerage pipes which will be linked to the main drainage system nearby. The estimated cost of that work is Rs20.3 million
Mazhar Hussain, TEPA engineering construction director said that the work would be completed by June 30. Water will remain for no more than one-and-a-half hour on MM Alam Road while on Queens and Lawrence Roads, it will disappear in no time at all.
Iqbal said that it had taken three years of patient work to get these sites connected to the Wasa drain system. He said Tepa tended to construct roads without proper planning. He claimed that with the construction of drains and other steps taken by his agency the monsoon season would be more bearable this year.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2011.