RAWALPINDI: The diversion of development funds to cope with the coronavirus situation has put Rawalpindi at the risk of a flood in the forthcoming monsoon season.
The Express Tribune has learnt that the Punjab government has backed off from releasing the approved funds of Rs40 million for silt cleaning and dredging in Nullah Leh and other 10 nullahs before the start of monsoon season in June. The funds were supposed to be released under the monsoon emergency plan however, the circumstances arising from the coronavirus situation have coerced the Punjab government to allocate more funds for the treatment of infected patients.
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The flooding in Nullah Leh back in 2005 took some 15 lives along with financial damage worth millions.
But, the locals of low-lying areas in Rawalpindi would remain in peril during the monsoon season after the government receded from releasing.
The Rawalpindi administration and Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) had poised for silt cleaning in Nullah Leh and was awaiting funds to kick off the activity.
Sources in the district administration told The Express Tribune that the previous records indicate that the water level in the natural stream was expected to rise up to 12 feet if its dredging was not performed.
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Further, both cantonment boards including Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) have not commenced cleaning of choked storm drains in their respective jurisdictions as well.
Last year contingents of Pakistan Army came to help the civic authorities in rescue operations in the areas along Nullah Leh where water had flown into homes.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 10th, 2020.