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Saturday March 02, 2024

Problems with civic infrastructure

December 11, 2023

Rawalpindi: Problems with the civic infrastructure of Rawalpindi continue. Apart from the Fauji Tower area, unscientific manhole covers are visible in several other places in the city. They pose a constant danger to the life and limb of commuters and pedestrians and result in injury to them.

“These are safety hazards. Every time motorists or pedestrians pass by such streets, they feel like they are part of a hurdle race that never seems to end. Excluding the fact that many of the roads in the locality lack manhole covers and many that are protruding out on the road add to the misery of citizens. Some unscientifically built structures that are quite a few inches above ground, pose a threat to commuters,” says Jamila Rizvi.

Workers are busy repairing sewerage lines with the help of heavy machinery on Club Road as after damaging of sewerage line. — Online/File
Workers are busy repairing sewerage lines with the help of heavy machinery on Club Road as after damaging of sewerage line. — Online/File

“Last night, I was caught unawares by a manhole chamber cover that was jutting out way above the ground. It was nighttime and visibility was quite low. Since I was on a two-wheeler, I did not see the huge structure jutting out almost in the middle of the street. I hit the cover and the vehicle skidded, throwing me onto the street. I not only suffered minor injuries but the two-wheeler was also damaged,” says Ali Haider. 

“Pedestrians are forced to hop, skip, and jump while walking. There are strict rules for laying and re-laying roads to ensure that the manholes are at the same level as the road surface. However, these are often not followed when authorities take up roadworks. There is a need for a scientific approach to placing manhole covers,” says Iftikhar Naqvi.

“Many residents have appealed to the sewerage department to curb this menace. This issue was raised on behalf of the residents to ensure that the manhole chambers are constructed in a way that the chamber covers are aligned with the road. We get to see several manhole chambers fixed in this manner across the city,” says Safdar Naqvi. “In many wards, the roads were broken up and left unattended. Before resurfacing the road the local authorities decided to replace the water mains and electricity cables, however, the long pending demand from the residents to replace the existing sewer mains remained unheeded. Residents continued to live in unsanitary conditions with sewage overflowing on the streets and sought our help,” says Tanvir Ali.

“Officials do not replace the sewer lines before resurfacing the road. Instead of addressing the core issue, they chose to increase the height of manhole covers to stop the sewage from flowing on the street. It is only a temporary cosmetic makeover,” says Naseem Mehdi. Ghulam Abbas says, “Lack of proper planning and coordination between the various agencies of the local administration has resulted in a loss to the exchequer. There needs to be a zero-tolerance approach when it comes to the safety of commuters or pedestrians.”