‘Rain alert’ in Pindi, CDGR yet to take precautionary measures

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Choked lines causing flood like situation in garrison city

Zubair Qureshi

In the wake of recent spell and pre-monsoon rains, July 10-Sept 10, 2017 has been declared ‘flood season’ in the garrison city and residents of the low-lying areas have been asked to temporarily shift to safer places. The district government instead of making preparations in advance has taken stereotype measures cancelling leaves of the staff and calling meetings to chalk out comprehensive ‘rain strategy’. According to an official of the district government, not only the staff of the municipal department has been called, emergency relief departments like Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Rescue 1122, WASA, Federal Flood Commission, Suparco, Civil Defence and others has also been alerted against any untoward situation. Meanwhile, Pak Army is again leading rescue and relief efforts and its Triple-1 Brigade has taken the precautionary measures. A contingent of the brigade is monitoring the situation round the clock and is ready to participate in the relief efforts.
Helicopters and boats will also be available to the rescue teams of the Pak Army to enhance the relief efforts. At present, our focus is on the Nullah Leh and the areas along its banks and communities living in the low lying areas of the city, said an official of the CDGR. According to sources, the Deputy Commissioner of the city has called a meeting to review the preparation in this regard. Meanwhile, the district government has banned throwing of garbage along the Nullah Leh and the sanitary workers have been directed to pave the banks of the Nullah. There is already a flood like situation in the low lying areas of the garrison city and the residents are haunted by the memories of 2009 and 2010 floods and also flash floods of 2015 when rain water had exposed the mismanagement in local administration. Once again the CDGR (City District Government Rawalpindi) has failed to clean drains and repave streets and roads causing choke and resultantly flood like situation.
An official of the CDGR alleged that the annual budget had been spent by the local administration on construction of roads in and around Murree, as the hilltown is frequented by Prime Minister of the country the Punjab chief minister. “The rest of the areas were neglected,” he said.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, he said, has not visited the garrison city for quite some time to avoid the rush on Murree Road and adjoining areas so he was not aware of the chaos on the roads. Flooding in the city could be avoided if officials fix the drainage system,” said Zia Ul Qamar a resident of Arya Mohalla. He said that even light rainfall choked drains and water entered shops and houses.
Arshad Ali, a resident of Mohallah Raja Sultan, said rainwater has already entered some of the houses and God forbid, if rains fall the situation could worsen. Situation in Pindi is alarming and urgent measures are required in this regard. It was on Wednesday when two motorcyclists were swept away by flood water as they were crossing a nullah in Mandra. According to the police, 20-year-old Faisal Mehmood and 16-year-old Ghulam Nabi were crossing Nullah Manaka Kas near Mandra when the water level rose due to the rains and were swept away by the flash flood. Rescuers were able to recover Faisal Mehmood’s body but the search for Ghulam Nabi’s body was called off after sunset. Faisal’s body was handed over to his family and the search for Ghulam Nabi’s body is underwahy.
Meanwhile, Rescue 1122 officials say the emergency service’s staff will be on standby in case of floods in Leh Nullah and to provide emergency response, medical treatment and transportation facilities to flood victims. The rescue service has urged people not to stand on the banks of the drain during a flood.

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