Rawalpindi-Islamabad metro bus project not waterproof

Published July 8, 2015
Rainwater flooded Centaurus metro bus station on Tuesday. In the other picture,  workers are seen cleaning the station. — White Star
Rainwater flooded Centaurus metro bus station on Tuesday. In the other picture, workers are seen cleaning the station. — White Star

ISLAMABAD/RAWALPINDI: Some newly constructed metro bus stations, worth millions of rupees, could not withstand the heavy monsoon showers on Tuesday and were flooded with rainwater.

The worst affected bus stations were Peshawar Mor, Centaurus, 7th Avenue, Kutchery and Shaheed-i-Milat stations where water flowed down the staircases and dripped from the ceiling, inundating the stations.

MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, while talking to Dawn, attributed the construction flaws to corruption and the hasty execution of the project.

“The rains exposed the poor performance of the Punjab government which started running the service before the work had been completed,” he said.

He said that water could be seen seeping into the concrete, on the elevated road from Saddar to Faizabad and people are afraid that it could cause a big disaster.

The MNA said that the Leh Nullah Expressway, proposed by him, was the best project to control flooding in the nullah but the PML-N government instead chose to waste billions on their own projects.

“The metro bus project reeks of corruption. The first spell of monsoon rains has exposed the poor quality of construction material used,” he said. The administration was forced to shut down the elevators and escalators but buses continued to run.

Iqbal Hussain, a passenger waiting at Centaurus, said that while the metro bus service was a positive initiative by the government, the contractors completed the project in haste. “Look at how much water is dripping from the ceiling,” he said.

A janitor said: “The maintenance staff is doing their best to pump the water out, but there should be some proper arrangement at the entrances to prevent rainwater from entering.”

A resident of Sector F-6, Mohammad Ali, said: “The government spent billions of rupees on the project but could not ensure proper drainage. Action should be taken against those negligent officers, who were in charge of the construction work.”

The water accumulated at the stations was finally drained several hours later.

A senior Capital Development Authority (CDA) official, requesting anonymity, passed the buck to the administration in Rawalpindi, stating that the CDA is not responsible for drainage at the bus stations.

“The project was executed by private firms, under the supervision of Commissioner Zahid Saeed, so he should be questioned about construction flaws,” he said.

Commissioner Saeed, who is the project director for the metro bus, told Dawn that he travelled along the bus route, accompanied by former MNA Hanif Abbasi and did not find any serious problems.

He said water accumulated in the commercial area at the back of the passport officer near Peshawar Mor rather than the underpasses and machinery had been sent to drain the water. He rejected the claims that the metro bus construction caused water to enter the market.

The Commissioner also did not accept that metro bus management was responsible for water entering the Centaurus Station.

“The Centaurus station was flooded because water accumulated in the underpass and there was no drainage near the green belt on the Blue Area side,” he said.

At 7th Avenue, Shaheed-i-Milat and two other bus stations, he said, water leaked from the joints of the fibreglass ceilings.

“These are not serious issues and will soon be resolved,” he said.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2015

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