Torrential rain exposes inadequate drainage system in Lahore

Updated July 26, 2019

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The platform near the PIA Planetarium damaged during downpour on Thursday. — White Star/ M. Arif
The platform near the PIA Planetarium damaged during downpour on Thursday. — White Star/ M. Arif

LAHORE: Monsoon’s second torrential rain disrupted routine life in the city on Thursday, leaving motorists stuck on roads for hours.

Officials drained out the rainwater accumulated at various points and energised the feeders to restore electricity suspended for hours in various parts of the city.

There were reports about appearance of sinkholes at various places including Johar Town’s main boulevard — Khayaban-i-Firdausi — due to spell of heavy rain.

According to the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), the rain started in the early hours (5:50am) and continued till 11:00am with intervals. There was 133mm rain at Tajpura, 110mm (Chowk Nakhuda), 108mm (Paniwala Talab), 93mm (Lakshmi Chowk), 84mm (Farrukhabad), 80mm (airport), 64mm (Gulshan-i-Ravi), 57mm (Samanabad), 51.6mm (Jail Road), 49mm (Iqbal Town and Mughalpura), 33mm (Zahoor Elahi Road), 40mm (Johar Town), 35mm (Upper Mall and Punjab University) and 30mm at Nishtar Town.

“The rainwater drainage operation was timely started and the areas such as Do Moria Pul, Chowk Nakhuda, Gulberg, Johar Town, Misri Shah, GPO, Nabha Road, Qartaba Chowk and Sheranwala Gate were cleared by 3pm,” claimed a Wasa official. He said the workers of the Lahore Waste Management Company too joined the operation by collecting the solid waste from the rainwater.

Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz, Lahore DC Ms Saleha Saeed, LDA Director General Muhammad Usman Moazzam and other officers supervised the post-rain operation for disposal of stormwater. They visited Lakshmi Chowk, Shimla Hill, Kashmir Road and other low-lying areas for monitoring the arrangements made by Wasa.

Wasa MD Syed Zahid Aziz told the media that the 117 drainage, pumping and lift stations functioned to their full capacity besides the 44 sucker machines and 91 de-watering sets installed at sensitive points in the city.

Thursday’s rain disrupted the electricity supply as it caused tripping of about 200 power distribution feeders. This led to suspension of power supply for hours. Lesco claimed it had energised the tripped feeders and restored power supply within a short time.

“There was no light in our area from 7am to 7pm,” complained a resident of Jain Mandar.

Motorists stuck on roads either in queues or when their vehicles broke down. “We helped people take out vehicles from flooded roads,” said a field official.

On Johar Town main boulevard, a sinkhole appeared and affected traffic. Police cordoned off the area to ensure smooth traffic flow. Wasa and LDA officials too reached the spot for earth filling.

Wasa and other departments concerned were put on high alert keeping in view the forecast of more rains in the coming days.

Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2019