Civic neglect: Pindi’s aging sewers need upgradation

Published: October 12, 2014
Lack of funds and unplanned urbanisation have been cited as reasons for the crippled drainage system. PHOTO: FILE

Lack of funds and unplanned urbanisation have been cited as reasons for the crippled drainage system. PHOTO: FILE

With the sewage system in many areas of Rawalpindi outdated and dysfunctional, many localities present flood-like situations whenever there is downpour.

The civic authorities have to pump rainwater out of streets in many neighbourhoods.

Schools in Fazal Town arguably suffer the most due to flooded streets. “It was like a slow cyclone here. School vans couldn’t drop the children at the schools near TCS Stop as the road was flooded with rainwater and sewage. The vans just took the kids back home,” said Amina Shah, a local schoolteacher.

“The aging sewerage system can’t keep up with the load. It sends raw sewage onto the roads whenever it rains heavily. The infrastructure has collapsed in some parts of the city,” says Karamat Hussain, a shopkeeper in Tali Mori area.

“Heavy rain can quickly overwhelm the sewerage system in old city areas and some newly-developed colonies. The authorities do not care to clear the drains of garbage. The upshot is that even moderate rain inundates the city,” says Asad Reza, a civil engineer and Saddar resident.

The authorities, on the other hand, blame local residents, saying that they throw trash into the streets and sewers.

“You can often see litter strewn on the roads when garbage bins are only a few feet away,” said Rana Shabbir, a Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) official. At the same time, he said, “RCB has stopped street sweeping services because it cannot pay sweepers.”

Nawaz Asif, another RCB official, admitted that the board had failed to put an effective drainage system in place. “It has left citizens at the mercy of nature. Uncontrolled population growth and unplanned urbanisation are also the reasons behind the crippled sewerage system. The present population is far more that the drainage system was meant to cater to. For now, we are trying to repair the existing system within our means,” he added.

Safdar Ali of the Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) says, “Fixing the problem isn’t an easy task. Satellite Town and some adjoining localities spent four decades and millions of rupees separating and upgrading their sewage lines. As pipes and other parts of the system age, the cost to maintain them goes up manifold.”

“The city needs major infrastructure improvement. The solution could be building larger sewers and separation of storm drains from sewage drains. It’s a daunting task. Besides, we are weighed down by shortage of funds,” said Malik Azmat, an official from the Tehsil Municipal Administration.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • yousafhaque
    Oct 12, 2014 - 9:39AM

    What for !?!


  • Salmaan
    Oct 14, 2014 - 9:59PM

    It’s not just a civic neglect, it’s a civic shame. The story rings so true in so many ways.


  • Nabeel
    Oct 14, 2014 - 10:07PM

    IThe dire condition of the city is a known fact now. What the civic bodies are doing. Outsource the task to private organizations.


  • Syed AbdulHaye
    Oct 15, 2014 - 10:11AM

    Yousaf Haque’s sinful silence over the issue is condemnable. Perhaps he belongs to one of the civic bodies. He is no exception, there are many like him across the city.


  • Syed Mateen Shah
    Oct 18, 2014 - 10:19AM

    The civic bodies and the administration have jointly created such a destructive situation as an arrangement to create reconstruction projects. It means more funds for them and more corruption chances.


  • Muhammad Ahmad Mirza
    Oct 19, 2014 - 9:30AM

    Flooding definitely erodes the road material. Clogging of drains should be stopped by educating people not to throw garbage in the drains. During rainfall even the litter thrown on the roads gets washed away into the drains and clogged drains start overflowing thus inundating the roads and damaging them badly..


  • Naveed
    Oct 19, 2014 - 9:33AM

    The drains have been a constant worry for us for a while now. Every time it rains, drains get clogged and water creates a mini pool throughout the stretch you are talking about. Even after repeated complaints, the issue has not been dealt with.


  • Tabbsum
    Oct 19, 2014 - 9:35AM

    As the civic apathy continues, the students and teachers like me lose out on a comfortable, clean roads to their destinations.


  • Hafiz Qureshi
    Oct 19, 2014 - 9:40AM

    The CCB staff cleaned the drain after it was clogged due to heavy rainfall. They de-silted the drain creating a garbage pile and left it as it is. They come occasionally and clear a small part of it, which is of no use.


  • Aijaz
    Oct 19, 2014 - 9:49AM

    Nobody speaks for the civic body. Let me tell you the truth. The previous bill to the private contractors has reached a big sum and now we have no funds to clear the garbage. The bill has not been passed by the higher authorities.


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