LAHORE: Many roads remained inundated after light showers brought more rain in the city on Sunday.
The Meteorological Department recorded 11mm of rain at Jail Road and 9.6mm at the airport on Sunday morning. A day earlier, 63mm of rain fell at Jail Road and 79mm at the airport in just two hours, leaving city roads flooded.
The Lahore commissioner and Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) managing director had said that the water would be drained or pumped out within a few hours, but this did not happen. Lakshmi Chowk, Centre Point on Gulberg’s Main Boulevard, Gaddafi Stadium Road, Noon Avenue and parts of Muslim Town and Mustafa Town remained flooded on Sunday. At Brandreth Road, the water crept into shops and houses and damaged furniture.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, at a meeting to discuss arrangements for the monsoon rains, slammed officials for failing to make proper arrangements and set up a committee to make recommendations for quicker disposal of rainwater.
He said that if the drainage system had been functioning properly, the rainwater would not have remained standing on the roads for so long after the heavy rains. He said that action would be taken against the officials responsible.
He went on to describe the flooding at Lakshmi Chowk and other areas as a result of criminal negligence on the part of officials. He expressed doubt that the officials concerned had the capacity to do their jobs.
He directed Wasa to improve its performance. He said that all machinery should remain fully operational and all staffers must be present at disposal stations. He directed them to make standby arrangements for the disposal of rainwater. He called for the capacity-building of Wasa staff and a comprehensive system for water disposal. He said efficient water drainage was even more important in Ramazan. He directed traffic authorities to arrange for uninterrupted flow of traffic during the rains.
The chief minister set up a committee consisting of MNA Pervaiz Malik, the housing secretary, the Lahore Development Authority director general, the district coordination officer, the Wasa managing director and others to submit recommendations on rainwater disposal within a day.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.