Dredging is carried out every year in Leh Nullah ahead of monsoon to remove mud and any other obstacles so that rainwater can flow smoothly. — File photo
Dredging is carried out every year in Leh Nullah ahead of monsoon to remove mud and any other obstacles so that rainwater can flow smoothly. — File photo

RAWALPINDI: The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has yet to start dredging Leh Nullah although the Punjab government released Rs40 million for this purpose.

A senior Wasa official told Dawn that the dredging of Leh Nullah begins in April and is completed by the end of June, before the monsoon begins.

He said that the provincial government had allocated funding but released it after the coronavirus lockdown in the province was lifted last week.

The official said the work might not be completed by June 30, the date that marks the start of the the monsoon.

Dredging begins in April and is completed by June end before the start of monsoon

He said there were reports that the coming monsoon would be aggressive and there was a dire need to remove mud and any other obstacles in the nullah so that rainwater coming from the capital and adjoining areas could flow smoothly.

Leh Nullah has a total length of about 24 kilometres, stretching from Islamabad to Rawalpindi. Eleven big nullahs of the city also discharge into Leh Nullah, which falls in Soan River near Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench.

The Leh Nullah from New Katarian to Soan River passes through densely populated areas of Rawalpindi city. All the nullahs of Islamabad are discharged into Leh Nullah on I.J. Principal Road.

The last flood that Leh Nullah witnessed was on July 23, 2001. Just a few hours of 620 millimetre rain resulted in the worst floods in the city’s history in which 35 people were killed and many slums were swept away, resulting in the loss of millions of rupees.

The nullah was full of polythene bags that adversely affect the water flow.

When contacted, Wasa spokesperson Umer Farooq said the agency would spend Rs40m to clear obstacles in the nullahto avoid a flood-like situation in the coming monsoon.

He said the work would be started in a week or two and it would be completed before the start of monsoon. He added that the work was delayed due to the lockdown and the Punjab government had stopped all the work in March, otherwise the dredging would have begun in April.

He said Wasa had completed the survey of Leh Nullah and pointed out hurdles in the smooth flow of the water. He said the dredging would improve the water flow up to two feet.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2020