WASA plans drains desilting before monsoon

Budget summary for cleaning of Nullah Leh and other drains submitted for approval

Qaiser Shirazi April 20, 2024
WASA workers pump out rainwater accumulated at Committee Chowk in Rawalpindi. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE


The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has urgently sought Rs150 million from the government to clean a 20km stretch of Nullah Leh, which is a cause of devastating floods every year, in addition to 10 other major rain drains in the city before the monsoon flood season.

The cost of cleaning has experienced a significant jump this year, primarily driven by the soaring prices of petroleum products, the higher rental charges for light and heavy cleaning machinery and the surge in labour expenses.

In the previous year, a total of Rs60 million was allocated for the desilting of 15 major rain drains. In comparison, an additional Rs60 million was designated for the silt cleaning of Nullah Leh. However, due to the detrimental effects of inflation, the demand for proper drain cleaning has risen substantially this year.

To ensure effective cleaning, a sum of Rs80 million has been requested for the silt cleaning of Nullah Leh, along with Rs70 million for the cleaning of 15 storm drains. Wasa Managing Director, Muhammad Salim Ashraf, has already submitted a summary of the required funds to the Punjab Government.

According to the emergency plan approved by Wasa, private entities will be invited to submit tender offers for sanitation services during the initial week of May. Subsequently, the formal cleanup process will commence in the last week of May and is expected to be completed within a timeframe of 45 days.

The plan also encompasses rectifying and straightening crooked bends present in the drainage system, in addition to managing the flow of rainwater in the drains. Furthermore, the essential deepening of drains and Nullah Leh will be undertaken in places where it is necessitated.

WASA had successfully finished the silt cleaning before the monsoon season in 2023, preventing the city from experiencing significant flood incidents despite the heavy rainfall. This year, WASA has devised a strategy to not only complete the silt cleaning well in advance but also ensure that teams will continue the clean-up efforts throughout the monsoon season, even during and after each rainfall.

The WASA MD has announced that the clean-up efforts will persist during the monsoon season this year. To prevent the accumulation of waste building material and garbage in Nullah Leh and storm drains, a prohibition under Section 144 will be enforced before the onset of the monsoon. Additionally, measures will be taken to crack down on and remove slum residents residing along Nullah Leh and storm drains before monsoon arrives.


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