Cantonment Board Abbottabad Chief Executive Officer Ammara Aamir has said that the National Highways Authority (NHA) was equally responsible for rain-related loess in different towns of the board where flood entered colonies and damaged 70 vehicles because of non-completion of a drain project on time.
Briefing to newsmen at her office, she said that because of an unprecedented rainfall on July 11, a tremendous loss to property and assets was caused.
“The CBA had repeatedly requested the NHA to complete the drains’ project on Mansehra Road on time. Existing drains are blocked because of the ongoing “Road and Drain Project of the NHA and the newly constructed drains have not been linked to each other, Ammara Aamir said.
She said that water from hilly areas used to go to these drains on Mansehra Road but unfortunately, the NHA could not complete the project before the monsoon. Since there was no conduit for the massive flow of water which entered housing colonies, she said adding that the NHA has again been requested to complete the project as soon as possible to avoid any further damage to property and losses.
She said that the Cantonment Board Abbottabad started its dewatering and restoration activity on July 12 by deploying its own resources and cleared the area within 12 hours.
“The district administration extended its logistic support on July 13 for which CBA is thankful to the deputy commissioner Abbottabad. Since, the disaster, the CBA is under fire and being blamed solely for the occurrence of the event which is not true. There were multiple factors which led to the situation and was a shared responsibility of different departments,” she said.
Ammara Aamir further said that the CBA issued notices to SNGPL for removing encroachments made by their office on Jab Nullah. On the ground, demarcations were also done by the revenue department and CBA, however, the gas company took a stay order against the CBA.
She said that in the wake of the recent downpour the back wall of the gas company’s office got destroyed and blocked the drain. Sui gas authorities have also been asked to remove their encroachments, and they have committed to removing it in one month’s and the Jab Nullah will be widened by 10-feet.
“As far as encroachments is concerned which have taken place over the years there is a misconception that CBA has approved the building plans on nullahs and drains which is not correct,” she said adding that there was a proper procedure for approval of building plans and it cannot get approval without production of the ownership documents.
Meanwhile, the National Highway Authority has categorically denied it’s any role causing urban flooding in the cantonment areas of Abbottabad.
In response to the CBA chief executive officer, the NHA clarified it was only responsible for roadside drains and for carrying the rain water from roads to its cross-drainage structures whereas in the present case, all the swage controlled by Cantonment Board and TMA was being dropped in drains of NHA. These drains are not planned for carrying this sort of discharge, it said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2021.
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