Wednesday November 30, 2022

Abbottabad flash flood losses blamed on encroachments

September 12, 2022

ABBOTTABAD: Despite tall claims of anti-encroachment operations by the National Highway Authority, Cantonment Board and Tehsil Municipal

Administration, the nullahs and drains encroached for

years have once again caused flash floods in different

parts of Abbottabad city causing huge financial losses to residents.

Abbottabad has been facing serious drainage and sanitation problems, especially in the rainy season, due to poor urban planning and encroachments on the ravines and nullahs.

During the current rainy season, all main roads of the town remained heavily flooded with rainwaters, causing huge traffic jams which added to the woes of common citizens, especially pedestrians.

A number of cars were stuck up in flood while the ground floors of a number of residential colonies turned into swimming pools.

During the rainy season, all the main roads of the town, including main Mansehra Road remain flooded with rainwater, causing traffic jams.

Now the city roads are not different from the roads in the other big cities like Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Lahore because of their improper condition.

According to the old maps of Abbottabad dating back to the British-era available with Cantonment Board, the city had three main drainage lines which included Jab Canal, Mirpur- Jab Canal and the Main City-Jab Canal.

Most parts of the Jab Canal have been encroached and the width has been reduced.

Similarly, Jab in the city has also encroached with the alleged connivance of the Cantonment Board and the Tehsil Municipal Administration.

Shops and plazas have been constructed over them.

The small drains on both sides of the expanded Mansehra Road have no capacity to carry rainwater which causes road blockades during the rainy season. Ironically, most of the areas were encroached on not only by individuals but by some departments as well.

The main nullah in the old city from Sarban Chowk to District Headquarters Hospital has been completely encroached by influential persons with the alleged connivance of TMA causing rainwater accumulation on the main road.

Similarly, the main nullah at the Kala Pul has been encroached on one side by powerful figures with the alleged support of the Cantonment Board while the other side was

reduced with the developmental funds provided by the

local MPA.

The only Small Industrial Estate in the city gives the look of a swimming pool during downpours as Jab Nullah due to poor planning. Ayub Medical College adjacent to the Small Industrial Estate was badly affected as water entered the college as well as the hospital.

Hospital Director Ayub Teaching Hospital Professor Dr Ishfaque told The News that water entered the ground floor of the hospital which affected five wards. He said all the patients were immediately shifted to other wards.

The town has become congested with haphazard expansion with unplanned construction on Shimla and Sarban hills beside expansion of the Cantonment Board to the rural areas of Mirpur and Kakul.

With its natural flow, the town due to its natural oval shape used to be drained within no time of heavy downpours. These drainage canals used to have fresh and clean water which have been polluted now by sewerage lines.

The local elders still remember those golden times when their little town would remain clean and tidy just like a small valley surrounded from all sides by lush green hillocks and with foliage abound.

They have witnessed golden fish in these canals which now have been converted into polluted drains. As the drains are choked, some parts of the city are waterlogged and pollution levels are increasing.

Another reason for the flooding of the roads is the absence of a disposal system for solid waste.

The residents and the shopkeepers throw solid waste into the main drainage lines.

The monsoon season always plays havoc as the rainwater inundates houses in the settlements of Link Road, Sir Syed Colony, Niazi Colony, College Road and Kakul Road. The recent heavy rain in the last 48 hours flooded the localities leading to long queues of vehicles on the main Karakoram Highway and link roads.

One to two feet of rainwater accumulated in Hassan Town, Bilal Town, Sir Syed Colony, Lambi Dheri, Thar Kana Chowk, Supply, Kala Pul, Stylo Street, Shah Zaman Colony, main PMA Road and even the Ayub Teaching Hospital. The shops and markets on main KKH especially at Supply, Mandian, Jhangi Seydan and other areas were hit badly by the rainwater, causing huge losses to the businessmen.

Reports said that a number of houses were damaged as well in Havelian and its surrounding villages.