SUKKUR/ROHRI: Residents of Sukkur have made numerous passages within a three kilometre-long embankment wall that runs along the River Indus, sources revealed on Thursday. It is feared that these passages will enable the flood water to enter the district, affecting more than 10,000 families who have illegally constructed houses around the vulnerable embankment.
Only five per cent of the openings in the wall have been repaired by the irrigation department, sources claimed. This protective wall was built at the time when the Sukkur Barrage was constructed. Due to a lack of water in the river, the bed remained dry for many years, allowing people to illegally construct a settlement in the area, which is five feet below the river bed.
Sources alleged that the district administration and the builders’ mafia in Sukkur had facilitated the construction of this settlement, providing residents with electricity, gas and water connections. They also claimed that the sand and stones dug out during the construction of this settlement had been disposed off into the river while the settlement’s drainage also opens into the river, polluting the water.
As the floods approached on Thursday, residents refused to leave their houses, disbelieving of the fact that the water threatened to wipe out their neighbourhoods. They maintained that they were safe and would not evacuate.
Railway track submerged
Railway tracks at Mehesro sank on Thursday after water started accumulating between Panu Aqil and Ghotki in the recent rains. Trains were forced to stop at railways stations till the administration contrived a temporary track out of stones, after which the trains were made to cross the 200-feet-long area at a speed of 15 kilometres an hour to avoid derailment. This also led to a number of delays in the train schedules. Repair works may take up to three days, said railways DS Roshan Mangi.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2010.
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