Published in The Nation newspaper on 29-Dec-2012
ISRAR AHMED & SYED DANISH HUSSAIN
RAWALPINDI/ISLAMABAD - The continuous rain and shivering cold wave paralysed normal life in the twin cities, causing untold sufferings and miseries to the people mostly residing in low-lying areas.
The situation worsened because of non-availability of gas and electricity in many areas where people faced a lot of difficulties in chilly weather. The rainwater also entered the houses located at low-lying areas, damaging households, while several roads were flooded with rainwater, making vehicular as well as foot walk impossible.
The affected areas include Adyala Village, Khasla, Dhala, Gorakhpur, Lari Malana, Tapai, Miamda, Shahpur, Kalri, Kalyal, Gulshanabad, Jarahi, Ali Town, Mumtaz Market, Dhama Syedan, Kaloor, Abbasi Colony, Caltex Road, Morgah, Pir Deval Sharif, Kotha Kalan, Maira, Jorian, Hayyal Village, Dhamial, Bunda Nagyal, Chakri Road, Sihal, Chihan, Kohala, Quaid-e-Azam Colony, Ahmed Abad, Qasim Aviation Base, Bakra Mandi, Dhoke Syedan, Baraf Khana Chowk, Misrial, Chakra, Chuher Chowk, Pirwadhai, Dhoke Mangtal, Dhoke Ratta, Fauji Colony, Hazara Colony, Raja Bazaar, Dingi Khoe, Jamia Masjid Road, Asghar Mall Scheme, Commercial Market, Faizabad, Double Road, 6 th Road, Rehmanabad, Shakriyal, Sadiqabad Chowk, 8 Number Chungi, Muslim Town, Khurram Colony, ASF Colony, Rawal Road, Chah Sultan, Tipu Road, Airport Chowk, Gulzar-e-Quaid, Shah Khalid Colony and many other areas.
A huge traffic gridlock was witnessed on almost all the major roads while traffic wardens did their level best to make the traffic flow smooth. Dozens of motorcars and motorbikes got dysfunctional in the middle of the road owing to entering rainwater in engines and plugs.
Reportedly, the rain badly damaged the gypsies’ huts and mud-made houses. However, luckily no casualty was reported anywhere in the city.
Similarly, the labourers, vendors and handcart owners complained of low turnout of customers. But huge rush could be witnessed on the coffee, soup and pikora samosa shops while business of dry fruits also boomed. The owners of wood stalls increased the prices of woods. In the markets and shops, hearths were being lit to remain safe from severe cold. The prices of chicken, eggs, wood and coals witnessed a huge surge in the cold weather.
According to details, the rain started last night at 10:00pm that continued even on Friday.
Khan Nazir, a poor labourer who was sitting at Saddar and waiting for some one who can hire his services, said that rain made impossible for him to continue his work. He said that he had been sitting here since morning but no body arrived to hire his services.
Shaha Bibi, a housewife, said that shopkeepers have increased the prices of eggs and chicken. “In chilly weather, my children ask for chicken soup but I have no money to buy chicken at high rate,” she said. She demanded of the government to take action against the poultry owners and the shopkeepers.
Nawazish Ali said that suspension of natural gas is irking the residents. He said that since morning he could not switch on the heater to keep his room warm. He said that his area has been facing low gas pressure for the last many days.
According to Met Office sources, Rawalpindi experienced minimum temperature of 8 degrees Celsius and maximum temperature of 11 degrees Celsius with 23mm rain.
Meanwhile, although the federal capital betrayed fresh looks of lush green with persistent rains on Friday yet the daily routine life across the twin cities has been badly paralysed due to the continues rain which starts from Thursday night.
Heavy downpour has not only ended the prevailing spell of dry weather, it also gave the masses the much-needed respite from the viral infections that had erupted due to dust and dryness owing to the low precipitation rate
The twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad during the second spell of winter season have received 23mm and 26mm rain respectively, according to metrological department. By and large, the citizens, including students, employees were forced to remain indoor on Friday due to continuous rain and attendance at the educational institutes and government and private offices remained much low.
Business activities also remained suspended across the twin cities as rain kept shoppers away from the markets. Commuters faced inconvenience due to lack of public transport on roads, while taxi and rickshaw drivers were taking advantage of the situation by overcharging the commuters.
Rain is a gift from God but in our city it turned into a curse due to poor sewage system. Even a little downpour is enough to disrupt routine life and fill Rawalpindi roads and streets with water, said Aamir Jilani, resident of Dhoke Hassu.
Rain blocked the main Benazir Bhutto Road and most of the link roads for traffic and also disrupted the power supply in most of the city. A massive traffic jam on Murree Road was observed during evening time. Rain also forced the inhabitants of kutchi abadies and low laying areas along Nullah Leh to pass through knee-deep water to reach their homes.
APP adds: As the winter season is touching its peak, people of different areas of the federal capital, especially residents of the sectors I-10, G-7 and Shehzad Town face low gas pressure.
They complained that gas pressure suddenly drops low to zero since the start of rain last night. Bilal Khalid, a resident of I-10/2 sector said that he got registered his complaint about gas pressure with the Company’s helpline on Thursday but so far no official visited his house to rectify the fault.
He said the problem starts from 6.00 a.m. to 11.00 a.m. and in the evening from 6.00 p.m. to 11.00 p.m. due to which working class and students are facing problems in timely reaching their offices and schools. The households are unable to cook meal and they have to adjust cooking timings.
Some residents of the area informed that the problem starts especially after the CNG stations set up in the residential areas start filling gas to vehicles after their three-day weekly off. They further informed the problem of low gas pressure continues from November to February every year. He, however, said that this year even after the closure of CNG stations, the problem still exists. Shahid Khan, a resident in Shahzad town informed that the matter of low pressure has been brought into the knowledge of concerned officials but the matter is still unresolved.
When contacted an official of the Company said that the low gas pressure was result of heavy use of gas heaters and gysers. He said that the Company is striving hard to maintain gas pressure especially for the domestic consumers in the Federal Capital but it takes time to reach out each and every consumers owing to a large number of complaints.
He said that the Company’s Helpline 1199 is available to register and address complaints of the consumers.
Published in The Nation newspaper on 29-Dec-2012