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Pakistan Print 2023-07-23

Normal life paralysed in Lahore as heavens open up; one killed

  • Heavy downpour started early in the morning that lasted for over five hours, which battered the city
Published July 23, 2023

LAHORE: Heavy monsoon rain and urban flooding paralysed the provincial capital on Saturday and claimed one life of a young boy.

A 17-year-old boy drowned while playing in rainwater under the Do Moria Pull; Deputy Commissioner Lahore Raafia Haider took notice of the death and instructed the senior official to investigate the incident. She requested the parents to keep their children away from water and the Lahore district administration imposed a ban on recreational activities near the Ravi River and Lahore Canal.

The heavy downpour started early in the morning that lasted for over five hours, which battered the city. It inundated different localities, including Icchara, Monzang, Shadman, Gulberg, Muslim Town, Garden Town, Johar Town Qaddafi Stadium, Township, Badami Bagh, Abid Market, Nisbat Road, Harbanspura, Gawalmandi, Garhi Shahu, Shah Jamal, Tajpura, Laxmi Chowk, McLeod Road, Chauburji, Islampura, Sandha, Krishannagar Bazar, Shadbagh, Railway Station, Missri Shah, Waseempura, Mughalpura, Do Muriah Pul, Queen’s Road and Cooper Road, Baber Market, Outfall Road, Shahdara and Anarkali.

The downpour again exposed the efficiency of the local government as the people struggled to cope with the urban flooding while the commuters waded through the streets and roads flooded with rainwater across the city. In low-lying areas, rainwater entered the houses while all major roads of the city were flooded and thus restricting people to their homes. Those who tried to reach their work faced the daunting task of driving through the flooded roads, thus leaving commuters stuck on jam-packed roads. Many vehicles, especially motorcycles, were seen stranded in the water. Hence, many markets opened late while salaried people were late to work or could not go. In Muslim Town, during the rain, huge potholes developed, posing grave danger to the commuters.

The rain has also impacted a number of under-construction infrastructure projects in the city. The Samanabad underpass, which was in its final stages, was flooded. It would be a daunting task to clear the rainwater from the construction site and could delay the project.

Moreover, the heavy downpour inundated the parking areas of Lahore General Hospital parking areas. The rainwater entered many medical wards, including the emergency ward, causing a disturbance in the treatment of patients. As the rain battered the city, at least 70 feeders of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) tripped, suspending the power supply to several areas. The Lesco started the work of restoring the power supply after the rain stopped.

Taking notice of the matter, interim Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi visited different areas of Lahore to inspect the situation after the downpour. He directed the city administration and WASA to drain the rainwater from the roads quickly while employing all the resources available.

Naqvi also ordered the authorities to increase the number of dewatering pumps installed in the city and stay in the field to address the problems faced by citizens. Moreover, he also ordered all-out efforts to keep the traffic flowing without disruption.

Meanwhile, interim Punjab Local Government Minister Amir Mir and interim Punjab Housing Minister Azfar Ali Nasir visited to areas inundated by rain. On this occasion, Mir said that timely action has helped drain out rainwater from various areas, including Lakshmi Chowk, adding that efforts were being made to clear other areas as well. “Wasa and other departments were carrying out the activity vigilantly while all relevant departments have been put on alert,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Lahore administration restricted the people from swimming in the Ravi River and canals, as well as playing on their banks, for a week, citing rising water levels and amid reports of flooding in various nearby villages due to overflowing streams.

Pakistan’s central region, including Lahore, has been facing a flood situation for several days as the northern states of India, where the catchment areas of the Sutlej and Ravi rivers are located, witnessed torrential downpours. Consequently, India has been releasing more water towards the downstream areas in Pakistan.

In view of the situation, the Deputy Commissioner said in a notification today that the public, especially youth, while visiting River Ravi and canals bathe in these water bodies, do boating and play on their banks, putting their lives in danger.

“Heavy rain this season may cause unfortunate incidents of drowning and loss of precious human lives. In my opinion, there are sufficient grounds to proceed under Section 144 of the Cod of Criminal Procedure, 1989, as an immediate prevention and speedy remedy in the matter and directions, hereinafter are necessary to prevent loss of human lives and disturbance of public peace and tranquillity in Lahore district. Therefore, a prohibition was being placed on swimming/ bathing/ boating in River Ravi and canals besides playing on the banks of these water bodies in Lahore district from July 22 (today) to July 28,” she said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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