Leh Nullah narrowing as truckers dump waste to create parking space

Published January 31, 2021
Leh Nullah at the Ganjmandi point has narrowed down after dirt and building material were dumped there to increase the parking area for trucks. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad
Leh Nullah at the Ganjmandi point has narrowed down after dirt and building material were dumped there to increase the parking area for trucks. — Photo by Tanveer Shahzad

RAWALPINDI: Trucks and other goods transport vehicles have come up with a novel idea of dumping construction waste on the banks of Leh Nullah to create space for parking their vehicles in the congested Raja Bazaar and other areas.

Just behind Ganjmandi police station and near a bridge, loading vehicles can be seen parked along Leh Nullah.

This has reduced the width of the nullah that can create problems in case of heavy rains.

A ban has already been imposed by the divisional commissioner on dumping of garbage and construction waste on the banks of Leh Nullah.

The district administration has been directed to impose Rs1,000 fine on any individual caught doing so.

However, no civic body is taking notice of the issue.

The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) spends millions of rupees every year on dredging of the nullah to avoid flooding. This year, the provincial government launched the dredging drive at a cost of Rs10 million.

Mafia became active after work on Leh Expressway project was announced, PTI local leader claims

Leh Nullah, which passes through the city’s downtown areas, swells during monsoon, putting public life and property at risk.

But no serious efforts have been made to tackle the issue.

The over 30km nullah starts from the foot of Margalla Hills in Islamabad and discharges into Soan River near the Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench.

A devastating flood in the nullah on July 23, 2001, swept away 35 people along with many slums, inflicting loss to properties worth millions of rupees.

Mohammad Ibrar, a resident of Ganjmandi, told Dawn that in the absence of a proper parking for goods transport vehicles, their drivers have started dumping construction material waste on the banks of the nullah to create space.

As a result, he said, the width of the nullah has reduced, creating hindrance in the smooth flow of rainwater.

Suhail Ahmed, a resident of Dhoke Ratta, said construction material waste was being dumped on the banks for the last few months to create parking space for trucks.

Zaheer Ahmed Awan, former PTI city chapter information secretary, said encroachments along Leh Nullah at Kashmir Colony, Pirwadhai, Ganjmandi and Gawalmandi had increased.

“Basically, the mafia has been active in the city after the government decided to launch work on Leh Expressway project. They want to occupy the area to mint money from the government on the pretext of compensation,” he said.

Mr Awan said he had pointed out the issue and brought the matter to the notice of heads of the civic bodies as well as the deputy commissioner, but no action has so far been taken.

When contacted, Rawalpindi Development authority (RDA) Chairman Tariq Mehmood Murtaza said he had asked Wasa to remove any encroachment found along Leh Nullah to avoid flooding in the garrison city.

He said he would check the ground situation on Monday.

“RDA and cantonment authorities have prepared a plan to remove encroachments and plant trees on banks of Leh Nullah. Station Commander Brigadier Ijaz Kiani and I held meetings last week to discuss the plan, and work on it will start soon,” Mr Murtaza said.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2021

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