RAWALPINDI, June 30: A landslide along the Leh Nullah has endangered 20 houses which are on the verge of collapse, especially as further heavy rains are expected in the coming days.
The landslide occurred near the bridge connecting Chaklala Scheme-III and Gulistan Colony due to Saturday’s downpour, in which 67mm rain increased water levels at Leh Nullah up to eight feet. This led the loose earth on the banks to collapse into the nullah, making the foundations of the nearby houses visible.
The area falls under the administrative control of the Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB), but no official visited the area even though the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) had warned them of the danger.
Residents of the area near Leh Nullah are at risk if a retaining wall is not constructed immediately, especially as the majority of these are poor and have no alternate place to shift to.
According to these residents, the banks along the nullah were loosing earth everyday, and they feared the next rain spell would cause a number of houses to topple into the nullah.
Fareed Khan, a resident of the area, said the authority concerned did not construct a retaining wall along the Nullah even though a new bridge had been constructed two years ago.
He said residents of the area were facing problems due to land sliding, and children and the elderly were especially at risk.
Similarly, Malik Ramazan said, “We have no alternate accommodation, and it is the duty of the CCB to construct a retaining wall to save the lives of the people.”
He said houses along the Nullah would collapse if the government did not construct a retaining wall, adding that during the last rains, residents of the area had spent sleepless nights praying all the time that a flood did not occur.
Another resident, Nasir Khan, said people could not collect donations and build a retaining wall on a self-help basis because most of them belonged to the middle class.
He said the government should do this just as it had done in Chaklala Scheme-III and Askari flats.
However, the CCB, the CDGR or the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) are not willing to take responsibility for the construction of a retaining wall.
“All nullahs fall under the administrative control of the Punjab government and its allied departments. Therefore, a retaining wall will also be constructed by them and it is not the duty of the CCB,” said CCB engineer Sheikh Riaz, while talking to Dawn.
He said the Leh Nullah had been de-silted by the Punjab government from the Kattarian Bridge to the Soan River, and it was an established rule that the provincial departments would clear the encroachments and build the retaining walls.
On the other hand, Managing Director Wasa Akram Soban told Dawn that the construction of retaining walls from Ammar Chowk onwards was the responsibility of CCB as Wasa was only responsible for the nullah at Ammar Chowk, Airport Road.
“The landslide near Chaklala Bridge is the responsibility of the cantonment authorities. We were authorised to clean the nullah before monsoon, but other issues have to be handled by the civic bodies of their respective areas,” he said.