A disaster for DHA residents

Published February 5, 2024
A car that fell into an under-construction storm water drain off Saba Avenue, DHA Phase VI.—Facebook/CliftonDefenceCommunityCDC
A car that fell into an under-construction storm water drain off Saba Avenue, DHA Phase VI.—Facebook/CliftonDefenceCommunityCDC

KARACHI: Defence Housing Authority (DHA) residents saw all their fears come true as the heavens opened and it started pouring over the weekend to make their lives a living hell. Dug-up drains that vanished under flooded roads pulled in cars, motorcycles and people in and on them. Sink holes opened up like graves, forcing many residents to suggest renaming the DHA ‘Disaster Housing Authority’.

Nothing changed for the notorious Phase IV Commercial Avenue and Khayaban-i-Bahria and the Phase V and VI Khayaban-i-Shujaat and Khayaban-i-Badar. If they were under water before the construction of new storm water drains, they were under water after it, too. Some residents were of the view that the situation was worse than before.

On Saturday, when it started raining, heavy property taxpayers of the DHA were stranded on the roads, able to move as little as three kilometres in four to five hours. And then when they finally reached home, there was no electricity and no gas. The gas is shut off at night anyway and the power was shut off for safety reasons.

Like other people of the metropolis, a large number of DHA residents took to social media to either narrate their ordeal or vent their anger against authorities.

“After destroying our roads and putting us through months of torture we are worse off than before,” said Rashid Hussain, a resident of DHA Phase I.

“Commercial Avenue is flooded again,” said Nilofer Ahmed, a resident of Phase IV.

Although the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC’s) rescue teams deployed diesel engine pumps and other operatives to drain the rainwater from the streets into the new storm water drains, residents wondered why the water was not flowing into those drains on its own.

All the drains made by the CBC and DHA had been exposed badly, said another resident, Rashid Ansari.

Another resident asked why so much money was spent on an “idiotic” infrastructure. “This so-called drainage system was actually only a drain for our money,” he added.

“The holes and ditches dug all over DHA are death traps,” said Ubaid Hasan of Phase II-Extension.

Phase VII was also warned about by residents.

“Please try to avoid lanes 17 to 26 of Jami Commercial,” said a resident of the area. “The authorities have not placed barriers or even a rope at places to indicate that there is work in progress at several of the places where they have started digging recently. Just a little while ago, a man on a motorcycle slid into such a ditch near Ayaz Mosque in Phase 2 extension.”

Another resident complained: “A family also fell into a ditch along with their car off Saba Avenue.”

“CBC and DHA people don’t care about our lives, they only care about awarding contracts after contracts,” she added.

On Sunday, several residents of the DHA, no matter what phase they resided in, were found to be seriously considering looking for drier, safer accommodations anywhere in Karachi.

No one in the CBC or DHA was available for comment.

Published in Dawn, February 5th, 2024

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