rawalpindi/islamabad - The intermittent rain that has been lashing the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad since Friday has dropped down the mercury considerably while normal life remained paralysed.

The rain also exposed tall claims of Tehsil Municipal Authority (TMA), Water and Sanitation Authority (WASA) and City District Government Rawalpindi about sanitation and cleanliness arrangements in the city.

Rainwater yesterday choked the drainage system mainly in the low-lying areas and turned several roads into ponds. Traffic almost remained choked due to accumulated water on roads. The motorists and pedestrians faced great difficulties in moving around. Water gushed out on several roads, causing immense traffic jams and putting the City District Government Rawalpindi (CDGR) and other civic bodies on the toes to meet with any emergency. The citizens remained confined to houses while schools, colleges, universities and offices witnessed low attendance due to rain.

In many areas, the residents faced miseries due to absence of gas and electricity during rain. The heavy rainfall also inundated low-lying areas and water entered houses and shops.

On the other hand, the continuous rain is also a cause of concern for the district managers as anti-dengue and anti-polio campaigns in Rawalpindi have badly been affected. The vendors complained of low number of customers due to rain. However, the business of soup, coffee, tea, pakoras and samosas boomed in the city as huge number of customers was seen outside such outlets.

Muhammad Umer Farooq, spokesperson for Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA), told media that MET office had reported 100 mm rainfall in Rawalpindi on Saturday. He said that the rainfall on Friday was 60mm. He added that there are reports that the rain would continue on Sunday and Monday.

Farooq said that WASA Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mahmood has been monitoring the situation and he has set up four flood emergency offices at Moti Mahal, Liaqat Bagh, Bagh Sardaran and Khyaban-e-Sir Syed areas.

He said that the offices have continuously been monitoring the rainfall and flood situation in Nullah Leh. The WASA official said that Nullah Leh has been flowing in normal situation as the water level in nullah was six feet.

Farooq said that the WASA in collaboration with Solid Waste Management Company had cleaned all small and big drain nullahs in the city. He said that the WASA has been using all resources to drain water from low-lying areas.

About positive effect of the rain, the WASA official said that it is very good for underground water level. He noted that the water in Rawal Dam has reached its full capacity of 1,752 feet and the authorities opened spillways of Rawal Dam on Friday night.

The rain, on the other hand, has affected the anti-dengue drive and created problems for the government. Advisor to Chief Minister on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique yesterday presided over a meeting about anti-dengue drive in Rawalpindi.

An official of the district government on condition of anonymity said that participants were concerned over the effects of the rain on the anti-dengue drive. He said that March is the month of birth of dengue larva. The advisor asked the city district government and all relevant departments to increase surveillance activity and clear rainwater as soon as possible.

On the other hand, water inundated roads and streets in areas of Dhamial, Hayyal, Chakri Road, Quaid-e-Azam Colony, Bakra Mandi, Lalazar, Tulsa, Dhoke Syedan, Adiala Road, Kalyal, Sadiqabad, Shakrial, Commercial Market, Saddar, Kashmir Road and any many other areas causing traffic jam and troubles for pedestrians.

Meanwhile, Islamabad continued receiving intermittent rain on Saturday.

A spokesperson of the Met Office said that the highest rainfall of 128mm had been recorded in Malam Jabba followed by 69mm in Murree. The areas in Islamabad including Saidpur received 53mm rain, Golra, 49mm, Bokra, 38mm, and Zero Point received 38mm rain.

He said the present rain-spell, which started on Friday, would persist till Monday morning while another spell was expected from Wednesday.

People living in surroundings of river banks and seasonal nullahs have been advised to be careful. During the next 24 hours, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) forecast that widespread rain-thundershower accompanied by strong gusty winds with hailstorm at isolated places was expected in twin cities . The forecast warned that the heavy downpour could generate urban/flash flooding in Rawalpindi division during the current spell.