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June 19, 2021

Indifferent role of civic bodies

Living in Cantonment Board localities is to enter into direct contact with living realities. Light rains inundating streets, walking on the roads through traffic jams to the sound of blasting horns from cars cruising down the avenue, sharing a tale of people’s grudges, joining in a hot conversation over lack of civic amenities on any corner, raising your voice in a low tone in the marketplaces, and then watching people disperse in different directions.

Residing in Westridge Alahabad, R. A. Bazaar, Misryal Road, Chohr, Range Road, Qasim Market, Afshan Colony, Kohinoor, Tehmasabad is to walk carefully among broken roads, open manholes, broken water supply pipelines that have not had the good fortune of being included in the restoration program led by Rawalpindi Cantonment Board.

It is also to live with the shortage of water, price hike, encroachments, rising house rents, and lack of recreational facilities. They have all made life in these localities miserable. Amid its rapid expansion, the concept of civic spaces hardly gets a chance to develop here.

Lalkurti, Tench Bhata, Adiala Road to Munnawwar Colony, Dhoke Syedan, Almumtaz Colony, Dhoke Kalhor, Dhoke Juma, Tali Mori, Sher Zaman Colony, Scheme III, Harley Street, and Chungi No. 22 are no exception in this regard.

Two months ago, a government employee was walking down Lal Kurti Street, one of the busiest localities in the RCB area. He had just crossed a chowk when he heard a thunderous crash that compelled him to turn around and look.

That was the case when part of the encroached building structure on the corner of a street collapsed right behind him. That day I was “born again.” That is what the Cantonment Boardians (RCB and CCB residents) say when they escape an extremely dangerous situation unharmed.

There are still families and businesses housed in dilapidated buildings located in RCB and CCB areas, though they are in constant danger. Such uncertainty is upsetting to everyone. One can only imagine the existential anguish the dwellers of such buildings feel.

A trader had slipped into an uncovered manhole in Harley Street on one June night while he had gone for a stroll after dinner. He was on his way back home from a late-night stroll when he fell into the open manhole and sustained injuries. Fortunately, with the help of other passersby, he managed to come out of the manhole immediately after he slipped into it, hence was not injured seriously.

Mall Road residents say workers of the civic body remove the slabs of the manholes to clean up the drains but never put the covers back. It is extremely dangerous commuting on the roads with such uncovered manholes, particularly when the area remains plunged into darkness due to power cuts. It is scary as major tragedies might occur at any time.