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October 23, 2020

CBC looks the other way as DHA residents brave open manholes and streets flooded with sewage


October 23, 2020

Karachi is no more being hammered by rains, and the floodwaters have also receded, but the residents of one of the city’s upmarket areas — the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) — continue to suffer the sombre aftermath of this year’s devastating monsoon season.

The gutters continue to overflow as open manholes and large potholes blatantly mock the neighbourhood’s management, which has hardly moved a muscle to rectify the situation, even though it has been causing daily accidents and threatening the lives of the residents.

One such case is of the 27th Street of Khayaban-e-Bukhari. The Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) uncovered a manhole four weeks ago only to let it harass the people living in the residential area.

According to the locals, the gutter regularly overflows and spreads a horrible stench in the area, while they also risk exposure to diseases, and that too amid an already perplexing health situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The residents complain that their vehicles get stuck due to open manholes and there’s always the looming threat of a child falling into one of them. “We have stopped our children from playing outside,” said a resident.

They have made several complaints, while a petition signed by almost all the residents of the street has been submitted to the relevant authorities, but to no avail, as the miserable citizens continue to wait for even the slightest response.

The locals are already disgruntled with the CBC and DHA, especially after this year’s record-breaking monsoon showers. The upmarket neighbourhoods have struggled with the devastating effects of severe urban flooding caused by August’s torrential rains.

After they protested in large numbers outside the authorities’ office demanding that the accumulated water be drained, a criminal case was filed against 22 residents, but it was later nullified by a court.

A further investigation into the matter showed that scores of residents have been complaining of open manholes and potholes that have been causing accidents on a daily basis.

Asad Raza complained that there’s an open manhole in Lane V of DHA Phase VI, Khayaban-e-Bukhari, which overflows with sewage and other filth. “The entire area reeks of sewage.”

Waqar Ahmed Khan of the 16th Street of Khayaban-e-Bukhari said that almost all manholes have been overflowing in the area. “Dirty, stinking water has been on the roads for the past four or five weeks, but no action has been taken.”

Roohi Hasan of Khayaban-e-Ittehad said that there has been a large hole outside her house for the past four months, and despite filing numerous complaints on the CBC’s app, no action has been taken.

“The hole was dug up for some work around four months ago, and since then it has been open,” she said, adding that in order to avoid any major accident, she keeps filling the pit with mud, “but that’s not a permanent solution”.

A tea shop owner near Khayaban-e-Ittehad said that since the DHA has failed to clean the sewers in the area, their footfall has drastically decreased. The owner lamented that they pay the highest taxes and all the bills to the DHA, but “just look at the service we get in return”.

When The News contacted the Defence Society Residents Association for their comment on all these concerns, its President Sharfuddin Memon expressed his helplessness in the matter.