Abdul Manan and Fahad Baig write in the Daily Times:
LAHORE: The government took no heed of the public complaints regarding the poor sewerage system and unhygienic conditions of the Anarkali Food Street, which has been posing a filthy look for the last many months, Daily Times has learnt.
It has been observed that the food street lacks proper drainage facility, while now and then overflowing gutters and heaps of food waste add to the miseries of the shopkeepers there. For this very reason, foreigners are no longer to be seen visiting the food bazaar, which, now, surely offers all kinds of local ‘specialties’.
There has been a blame game between various government agencies over the cleanliness and maintenance of one of the city’s main tourist attractions.
The Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) Managing Director Pervaiz Iftikhar told Daily Times that sewerage system was only for liquids, not for the solid waste. He said the shopkeepers of the food street jam the drains with bones and other waste products. Moreover, he said the area’s sewerage system was installed before partition.
Blaming the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) for not ‘knowing’ its responsibility, he said the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) should construct grease traps to prevent fat and other sold waste from entering the drains. The EPA should also force the shopkeepers to follow the environmental precautionary measures,” he added.
PHA Public Relations Deputy Director Javaid Shaida told Daily Times that the PHA’s responsibility was to achieve its target of constructing the Anarkali Food Street, which had been constructed six years ago. He said the PHA could not intervene in the internal affairs of the food street, and that the unhygienic condition of the area was not their headache.
PHA Director Asif Zaheer said the PHA could interfere in the affairs of Anarkali Food Street, and that the PHA had changed the sewerage system. He said the overflowing gutters and stagnant water at the street was because of the slope. He held the WASA responsible for the adverse conditions of the food street.
Data Gunj Bukhsh Town Tehsil Municipal Officer (TMO) Malik Imtiaz Awan said his responsibility was to remove encroachment and construct the broken and new roads in the food street.
Shopkeepers told Daily Times that the number of foreign and local customers, paying visit to the food street, had reduced owing to the unhygienic conditions of the place, and that no concerned agency was ready to take the responsibility. They said they were facing a big loss in business.
EPA Director Mian Khalid Mehmood said he had sought reports from the WASA managing director, PHA director general and the Data Gunj Bukhsh Town TMO on March 4 regarding their latest steps for the cleanness of the food street. He said the WASA and PHA were responsible for the food contamination and unhygienic conditions of the food street.
The EPA, on November 7, 2007, had served legal notices to the district officer (Food), the Anarkali Food Street Union, the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) and the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) for the unhygienic conditions in the Old Anarkali. EPD Director Mian Khalid Mehmood, then, told that had taken a suo moto action according to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA) 1997.
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