Lahore drowns in 270 minutes
* 86mm of rain paralyses routine life
* Major roads submerged, vehicles break down in rainwater
* Shahbaz Sharif hits the road to rescue flood-affected people
* WASA MD says authority is helpless in localities with no sewerage system
By Nauman Tasleem
LAHORE: A four-and-a-half-hour long spell of rain on the weekend paralysed routine life, as water accumulated on main roads and crossings, causing breakdown of a number of vehicles in various localities of the city.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department had predicted heavy monsoon rainfall from July to September, but the departments concerned paid no heed to the warning and did not make arrangements to deal with the predicted calamity. The chief meteorologist had warned that rainfall this year was expected to be 25 percent higher than average, and highest of the last seven monsoons.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif immediately dashed to low lying areas and personally monitored the operation for pumping out water. He also issued directions to WASA and other agencies for taking prompt measures to provide relief to grief stricken people.
Wherever the CM visited, he found roads flooded, and he had no option but to blame WASA and Lahore Development Authority officials. “You have done nothing. I cannot tolerate the situation. Do your duty or leave the job,” an official accompanying the CM quoted him as saying. The CM, along with the district co-ordination officer and other officials, visited Davis Road, Moria Bridge, Aziz Road, Rahim Road, Misri Shah, Kachopura and Akbar Road.
Paralysed: The rain that started at around 6:45am came to a halt at 11:15am, turning the weather pleasant. It however took its toll on office-goers who had to stay home till it stopped. Some people tried to use different routes to reach their offices, shops and business places, but found no dry land. At many places, people were seen towing their motorcycles and cars out of the rainwater and looking for mechanics. “The government departments were aware of the rain, but they have not planned how to deal with the situation,” said Ather Hussain, a banker whose car broke down in rainwater.
Rana Abid Mehmood, a motorist, said that he had taken a number of roads to reach his office safely, but found every road submerged.
Almost done: “We had cleared Naulakha Chowk, Lakshami Chowk, GPO Chowk, Nabha Road, Shalimar Town and Railway Road by 2pm,” said WASA Director (Planning) Zahid Aziz.
WASA Managing Director (MD) Javed Iqbal said that the authority was making efforts to handle the situation. “Though a number of places have been cleared, we are helpless in some localities where there is no sewerage system,” he said, adding that generators had been installed at all disposal stations, and the city would be cleared of water as soon as possible.
Source: Daily Times