RAWALPINDI: Punjab Caretaker Minister for Primary and Secondary Healthcare and Population Welfare Jamal Nasir said that Rs300 million were being provided for the cleaning of Leh Nullah to avert urban flooding in Rawalpindi.

He stated this during a meeting with Federal Flood Commission Chairman Ahmed Kamal at his office on Saturday.

The minister said that he was grateful for the timely support of the federal government and added that this funding would be utilised in complete compliance with SOPs.

He said that desilting has been done in Leh Nullah in the current monsoon season and heavy machinery was continuously working for this purpose.

CM’s aide takes notice of encroachments along Leh, seeks report in three days

He said that strict action was being taken against those who “throw building materials” into the nullah and regular police patrolling has also been started for this purpose. Dr Jamal Nasir said that special attention was being paid to the cleaning of tributaries of Nullah Leh and Wasa, and Rawalpindi Waste Management Company (RWMC), and Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation were playing their part.

He said that an operation has also been started to eliminate encroachments around the drains and a zero-tolerance policy was being implemented in this regard.

The minister said due to these measures, Rawalpindi would be protected from the dangers of urban flooding. He said that dewatering machines have been mobilised for the immediate release of water from residential areas and added resources were being provided to Wasa and other departments in this regard.

He said that apart from repairing the old equipment, new equipment was also being provided to improve efficiency.

Federal Flood Commission Chairman Ahmed Kamal appreciated the Punjab government’s ability to deal with the flood situation and said that despite the record rains in Lahore, all the departments worked in a dynamic manner due to which human and financial losses were not as high as expected. He said that the sanitation situation in Leh and other drains of Rawalpindi was also satisfactory.

Encroachments along nullahs

CM’s adviser Kanwar Muhammad Dilshad took notice of encroachments along the Leh and asked for a report from the Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation within three days.

He was presiding over the meeting regarding urban flooding alongside Jamal Nasir.

He asked the deputy commissioner to remove encroachments and register cases against individuals involved in dumping of solid waste and building material into the nullah. He said even though no one could control natural disasters but through certain measures, the damage could be reduced to some extent.

While taking a briefing from Wasa and other departments about the arrangements made ahead of the expected rains and urban flooding, he stressed that all necessary measures to prevent flooding should be taken.

Wasa Managing Director Muhammad Tanveer informed the meeting that the first round of desilting of Leh Nullah was completed. “As many as 11 drains which discharge in Leh Nullah have also been clean,” he said.

He said that there was a high risk of flooding and added the cleaning process of these drains was being ensured to ensure an unobstructed flow of water. “A joint team has been formed to clean the drains to improve the sewage system so that it is functional in case of heavy rainfall,” he said.

Dr Jamal Nasir directed the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to keep its alert system updated and keep people informed about the situation. He asked Wasa to be ready to clear roads and streets to prevent inundation.

The caretaker minister said that other areas where the risk of floods was high, such as Rata Amaral, Katarian, Tipu Road, Dhok Najo, Gwalmandi and Ziaul Haq Colony, should be given special attention.

He directed that all the government departments fully cooperate with the rescue staff and Wasa regarding the measures taken to avoid the flooding as well as the health department to ensure the provision of adequate medical facilities to deal with any unforeseen circumstances.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2023

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