SATURDAY’S rain exposed the inability of Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and tall claims of the City District Government Lahore in draining out rainwater accumulated on city roads which jammed traffic for hours.
The traffic mess due to rainwater at Mozang Chowk also claimed lives of two innocent children who were being shifted by a Rescue 1122 ambulance to hospital after they sustained critical injuries in a Dharampura train accident.
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had issued repeatedly instructions to Lahore commissioner and the DCO to make necessary arrangements before the rain but to no avail.
Several emergency cells were established to deal with rainwater but almost every effort of Wasa officials remained unrewarding and rainwater remained on city roads despite a lapse of several hours.
Besides, Lahore traffic police also failed to ensure smooth flow of traffic during the rain time and traffic mess took place on almost every major road of the city after rain. The ongoing construction work of Rapid Bus Transit project increased the inconvenience for the citizens as almost traffic was blocked from Chungi Amer Sadhu to Mozang Chowk. Presently, only one lane is open for each side of the Ferozepur Road but the rainwater closed that lane too and citizens remained stuck there for more than five hours. Almost entire Ferozpeur Road is dug up due to RBT project and even a single step was not possible during the rain due to the fear of dug up road.
Traffic mess was also witnessed on Canal Road after Jail Road and Ferozpur Road underpasses were closed due to rainwater. It was the liability of TEPA to clear the water during the rain from the underpasses but not even a single official of TEPA was present there to clear the water with automatic pumps.
During and after the rain, a majority of traffic wardens was also absent from various major roads of the city, failing traffic system. Rain created pools of water on major city roads, causing traffic jams on Main Boulevard, M M Aalam Road, Ferozepur Road, Shadman Road, Garden Town Road, Nishter Sports Complex, Zahoor Elahi Road, Link Road, Multan Road, Railway Road, Laxmi Chowk, Allama Iqbal Road, Davis Road and Circular Road.
Most of the roads in the city localities were inundated with rainwater, exposing planning of the departments concerned.
A majority of Wasa workers was found absent during and after the rain due to which rainwater remained on all major roads till evening. Despite construction of new drain by TEPA at Sharah-e-Awin-e-Tijarat, rainwater remained there for many hours due to which traffic remained stuck from Shadman Chowk to Governor’s House. Model Town, Garden Town, Wahdat Colony, Gawalmandi Chowk, Garhi Shahu Chowk, Railway Station, Shadbagh, Misri Shah, Neela Gumbad Chowk, Kashmir Road, Outfall Road, GPO Chowk, Chauburji, Samanabad, Sultanpura, Mughalpura, Shahdara, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Township, Faisal Town, Green Town, Garden Town, Gulberg, cantonment, Ghazi Road, Kahna, Mozang, Saadi Park, Anarkali, the Walled City, Brandreth Road and Naulakha were among the most affected localities due to rain.
Rainwater entered various houses situated in the northern part of the city. The residents of Fateh Garh, Mughalpura, Khokhar Road, Amir Road, Sham Nagar, Ravi Road, Garhi Shahu, Badami Bagh, Shadbagh, Misri Shah, Wasanpura and Goal Bagh were hit hard by the rain.
According to a Wasa spokesperson, the department had employed all its resources to drain out rainwater, but the fact that many roads were inundated with rainwater till 5pm seemed to defy his claim.