KARACHI: Every day from 9am to 1pm, residents of Korangi Crossing and thereabouts gather their dirty laundry, pots and pans, dishes, empty drums, buckets and bottles along with the little ones to head to the leaking water supply line.
The line carries water for residents of Defence Housing Authority and Clifton and its maintenance is said to be the responsibility of the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC).
Not just human beings, even animals like camels, stray dogs, buffaloes and cows are well aware about this source of sweet water. Also, wherever there is a leak in the pipeline there is also a dense and wild growth of weeds sprouting out of the pipes.
The pipeline is overhead, some 15 to 20 feet above the ground so water leaking from there flows down in the form of a shower with great pressure.
After reaching there, the children take off their shirts to enjoy the showers as their mothers get busy washing the clothes and pots and pans. Some caring folks have also tied clothes lines from the mangrove trees or thorny keekar branches for drying the washing.
People wash clothes, cool off and do dishes under the leaking pipeline
“It feels like we are under a waterfall,” laughed one man on a motorcycle. He said that he came here for a shower almost every day from nearby Qayyumabad.
Asadullah, another man who was collecting his dried laundry from the clothesline there, said that it took just a little while for the clothes to dry. “The breeze is strong here and the sun is also bright. The clothes dry soon enough,” he said as he folded his freshly washed laundry before placing it all in a plastic bag.
“It’s an old and rusted pipeline and it is cracked or broken at several points. We hear that this particular line supplies water to Defence residents. So we use this water without guilt as DHA people can afford tankers,” he smiled. “As it is the water is being wasted. If we don’t enjoy the benefits it will just be absorbed by the ground,” he added.
“We just come here to enjoy a shower whenever we have time,” said Shahbaz, a resident of Korangi Crossing. He was on a motorcycle with two more persons, all there for the showers.
“We have not brought any extra clothes with us. The clothes on our backs can have a wash along with us and dry on us too,” he added.
Another man, Naik Mohammed, had brought his entire family — mother, wife, sister and children — along with lots of empty water drums and bottles on his red loader motorbike. Everyone was busy doing something or the other. Some children were helping the women in washing the pots and pans; some were helping them wash clothes. The family had arrived well-equipped with soaps.
After filling up the empty drums, buckets and bottles, Naik Mohammed joined his children to enjoy the cool and free water showers. If one point got too crowded for the entire family, they moved on to another point. “It is a long pipeline and it leaks at eight to nine points to produce sprays of water,” Naik Mohammed shrugged.
Meanwhile, Sikandar Ali of Askari Guards said that he and another security guard were deployed there for guarding the pipeline. “There are drug addicts who steal the iron bars from the pillars here. They also damage the pipeline occasionally though it is an old, rusted and brittle line that has developed many cracks on its own,” he pointed out.
When asked why no one mends the cracks and leaks in the line, he just shrugged.
But he also said that the line was above the ground so the damage to it was visible. Pointing to another big water line most of which was submerged in the water that’s polluted with factory waste from the Korangi Industrial Area, he said: “I also see water bubbling from that line. And since it is submerged in contaminated water, it is also absorbing that water. That line belongs to the residents of Korangi and Ibrahim Hyderi. May God keep them safe,” he said.
The CBC is, however, kept a mum regarding the matter.
They rejected all of Dawn’s phone calls and did not even reply to the numerous messages sent their way.
Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2023