July 12, 2013 Khalid Malik
LAHORE - The Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC) and the City District Government have failed to finish the de-silting of the rain drains and sewerage system of the provincial capital.
Earlier the Punjab CM, giving directives over monsoon arrangements, directed the department concerned to ensure effective arrangements for flushing out rainwater from low-lying areas of the City and de-silting of drains and rainwater channels before upcoming season. However, it could not be done by the CDGL, Wasa and other departments concerned as the pre-monsoon rains exposed the shortcomings.
Further, Wasa and CDGL’s failure in setting up emergency camps, flood relief camps and other arrangements timely to ‘adeptly’ deal with the monsoon might cause imminent flash floods and urban inundation in the provincial metropolis like previous years.
It is feared that the city might be lashed by the heavy rains and thunderstorms while the predictions of premature monsoon have already surfaced. The CDGL also lacks any warning system for natural calamities. Sources, however, said that the monsoon management plan of Wasa and SWMC was still underway and could not be completed so far due to sluggish attitude of the departments despite repeated instructions by the provincial government as well as the CDGL authorities including DC and DCO.
The CDGL sources maintained that the DCO directed the authorities concerned that all the essential arrangements must be completed before the monsoon. He also directed authorities concerned to cancel leaves and weekly offs of all the Wasa, TEPA, SMW and Metrological office employees.
According to a DCO formal version, he directed the Wasa authorities to establish an alert system to avoid any loss from expected heavy rains. The main objective to establish such alert system is that it would inform departments concerned two hours before rain and would order them to be ready to cope with any emergencies. He also directed to issue duty charts for deputing staffs at emergency centers. Wasa and other departments claimed that de-silting of about 100 drains has been completed twice while further de-silting process is continued. It was informed that about 80 disposal pumps had been installed and 32 complaint centers had been established with essential tools and machinery in 74 low-lying areas of the City to cope with any emergency.
Insiders said that Wasa and other concerned departments are lacking coordination and that is why, they failed to take preventive measures with installing essential machinery. They further commented that dilapidated condition of roads, digging in connection with laying pipelines of water, sewerage and gas may deteriorate the condition.
They said that most of the roads are yet to be repaired even the patchwork or carpeting could not be initiated.
Earlier, the LWMC issued its de-silting plan June – September 2013 and according to details the plan was to start de-silt all 590 tertiary drains measuring total 413 kilometers and deployed more than 450 dedicated workers to carry out this task.
LWMC spokesperson said that the objective of such extensive cleaning was to ensure free flow of rain water in these drains during monsoon season. This measure would ensure small drains and gutters in residential and commercial areas of the city.
The dedicated workers are being provided with the new uniforms, special health and safety gadgets and customised equipment like handcarts with waste bags fixed in these so that the de-silted waste does not appear anywhere in streets and roads even during the operations. The walled city will be focused area for de-silting and 55 workers have already been deployed for carrying out this task smoothly. Similarly in Anarkali, Liberty Market and Gawalmandi areas, extra work force have been deputed for operations.