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RAWALPINDI: The district administration has been given a week to find a solution to the shortage of natural gas and water in the city, which residents will be informed of at an open katchery next week.

This was revealed at a meeting at the deputy commissioner’s office on Tuesday. Chaired by PTI MNA Sheikh Rashid Shafique, the meeting was held for a detailed report on development work in NA-60 and 62. Deputy Commissioner Omer Jehangir and other senior district administration officials were present, as were local union council chairmen.

Mr Shafique asked the union council members to give their assessments on the speed of development work and people’s concerns regarding the shortage of natural gas and water in the city.

He said residents of Rawalpindi were suffering from the water and natural gas shortages and the bad law and order situation, particularly following targeted attacks on military and police personnel.

He said traders were facing problems and did not feel safe in marketplaces because of the increase in street crime in the last few months. Mr Shafique said Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed – his uncle – has received complaints about the law and order situation and the gas shortage in NA-62 and NA-60.

He asked the administration to arrange an open katchery where the regional police officer, city police officer and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines general manager could face the people and resolve their problems on the spot.

“The open katchery will be held on Monday, and in the meantime the respective organisations and departments will make their plan to present it before the people and solve their problems on a priority basis on the spot,” he said.

Mr Shafique said time should not be wasted on briefings and officials should be made accountable to the people.

He said Rawalpindi residents had suffered water and natural gas shortages for many years but “the bureaucracy is using delaying tactics”, adding that “in the PTI government this will not happen”.

At the meeting, union council representatives expressed satisfaction with the sanitation in the city areas but raised the issue of streetlights. The meeting was informed that there was no mechanism for streetlights in Potohar Town areas.

To this, Mr Shafique asked the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation to assist the district council and send staff to repair the streetlights in the area. Corporation officials assured him work would start today (Wednesday).

He also directed the district administration to expedite work on development schemes so they are completed on time. There are many development schemes in the city that began last year but remain unfinished.

Earlier, the deputy commissioner told meeting participants that work had begun on a plan to improve the water supply in the city areas and will be submitted to the Punjab government for funding next week.

He said the sewerage system will be improved in all the union councils, while work on a project worth Rs350 million in Shakrial and other areas along the Islamabad Expressway will be completed soon.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2018

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