KAMALIA-With water level increasing in the Ravi River, the people of nearby areas are in a state of panic as the arrangements made by the administration are insufficient to deal with the recurring floods.

On other hand, under-construction project of protective embankment has become a means of corruption of billions of rupees. Fearing public unrest and complaints, the contractor’s bills have been stopped, as per a statement issued by the department.

Considering the flood danger, the embankments costing billions of rupees are under-construction at Ravi to protect nearby areas but no stones or gravel were used in construction; only mud and soil were used to make rough earthen walls instead of solid embankments. The department and contractor wish immediate clearance of bills and payments while lives of millions of people of the adjoining areas like Pirmahal, Kamalia, Shorkot and hundreds of villages is at stake as these areas are 18 to 22 feet below Ravi water level. In the recent years, Mahabat Kharal Basti, 54/2 Tukda, Khan-da-chak, Haveli Tara, Bhussi, Mal Fatiyana, dozens of settlements of Harappa and thousands of acres of agricultural land had been eroded by the floodwater.

The government took note and approved the project costing Rs29 billion but the contractor allegedly found a way for corruption. Neither stone nor gravel was used as quoted in the estimate, to mess up things even further compaction machinery was not used either in the construction. Furthermore, the whole process is being carried out lazily and slowly as if the contractor is waiting for the flood to wash away all the traces of his folly.

On public complaints, MNA Ch Asadur Rahman visited the construction site and inquired about the substandard construction work but the SDO concerned had no proper reply to the objections. Reportedly, the contractor is a relative of some high officers in Irrigation Department. SDO Irrigation said that contractor is being stressed upon for improving work standard. Regarding corruption, he said that it was a matter for the higher-ups.

When officer on duty for inspection of construction work, sub-engineer Mian Saleem was contacted, his phone was turned-off. The SDO Irrigation affirmed that sub-engineer was not even in his contact for last many days.

Social circles and dignitaries of the city have demanded that the Punjab chief minister should ensure the standard of these embankments and save millions of innocent lives by taking strict disciplinary action against the culprit officers.