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January 12, 2018

Saroba Garden without water filtration plant, other amenities


January 12, 2018

LAHORE: Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and other bodies working under City District Government Lahore (CDGL) have received serious flak from the voters of chief minister’s constituency PP-159 for ignoring them.

Already, when a major chunk of population living in PP-159 seems complaining about issues such as unavailability of clean drinking water, poor sanitary measures, encroachments, there is also an area where residents are receiving monthly bill from Wasa despite having no connections.

Though the area of Saroba Garden, a locality nearby Pak Arab Society alongwith the route of Metro Bus, a million dollar project of the PML-N government, the CDGL administration hasn’t bothered to set up a single water filtration plant to ensure availability of clean drinking water. Revolutionary poet late Habib Jalib belonged to Saroba Garden, a locality falls in PP-159, from where Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is the sitting MPA.

Shahbaz Sharif in the last general elections won both the National Assembly and Provincial Assembly seats while bagging around 94,000 from the NA-129 seat and around 60, 000 votes from PP-159. He vacated the NA seat and retained the PP-159.

According to local residents, the CM has been narrating the famous poem of Habib Jalib ‘Mai Nahe Maanta’ during pre and post election rallies or campaigns but irony of the situation is that he, or his team never paid any heed to address the grievances of the residents who have already groomed under the weight of heavy taxes and utility bills sans basic amenities.

“I have been receiving bill from Wasa despite having no water connection at my residence,” said Muhammad Asif, a local resident, while talking to The News during a survey conducted at Saroba Garden by The News.

M Zohaib, a call centre employee, told this scribe that people had done everything on ‘self service’ basis regarding water issue. “They have drilled bores to access the groundwater for household usage, not only this, the water we are using is highly polluted and unfit for drinking,” said another resident, Muhammad Azeem. John Zohaib, a local youth, told this scribe that streetlights have yet to be bee installed by the CDGL, streets need patch work, parks require maintenance but no elected representative bothered to visit their area after the general or local body polls.

Another resident told The News that in adjacent society there has been a water-tank but now it is not functioning there, adding if that water-tank started operating, thousands of local people could get water from it.

When the local residents were asked whether any society was responsible to look after the affairs of this area, the scribe was told there existed no such body and the government was responsible for everything including sewage, water and cleanliness. Heaps of garbage could be seen at some points of the area where people told the scribe that cleaners turn up there just once a day.

Officials answerless and unaware about public woes The News contacted senior officials of Wasa and CDGL bodies to take up the case of Saroba Garden residents.

The News tried to contact Managing Director, Wasa, Zahid Aziz but he didn’t pick the phone. Through a text message The News was informed that a total 294 water filtration plants had been installed in Lahore but when asked why there has been no such arrangement for Saroba Garden residents and why the local people were receiving bills despite having no connection given to them by Wasa, no answer was received.

Wasa Deputy Managing Director, Shakeel Kashmiri, told The News that Saroba Garden wasn’t related to Wasa but when similar question was asked to him why the people were being sent the bills by the agency, he sought time to look into the matter.

The News then contacted Mayor Lahore Mubashir Javed and deputy commissioner and told them about water issue in Saroba Garden. Mayor Mubashir Javed while talking to The News said he wasn’t sure which Union Council this area belonged to and said if people were receiving bills from Wasa for no connection, he would certainly take up this issue with the officials concerned. Deputy Commissioner Sameer Ahmed when contacted also expressed similar views and stated he wasn’t sure about the issue but would certainly take up the matter with quarters concerned.

The News also tried to contact Talha Burki, political secretary of chief minister, but he didn’t pick the phone. 1,930 plots discovered: Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has discovered 1,930 plots in Johar Town, which it owned but never knew that they existed.

The discovery was made as a result of a recent survey carried out by the authority following the complaints of illegal possession and encroachments on empty plots in Johar Town. The survey also revealed about the presence of LDA owned 312 plots with temporary encroachments while 1,760 plots having full-fledged construction. Zeeshan Rana, LDA Additional Director General (Housing), said similar survey is being done at Sabzazar Housing Society and other LDA housing schemes.

He said the authority will add the numbers of recently discovered plots in computer lists of LDA so that they can’t be transferred to anyone now. He added that LDA will also erect plates at all the empty plots about LDA’s ownership very soon. Answering a question about the constructed houses on LDA owned plots, he said LDA will use every available legal option to get its land back.

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