LAHORE - Unavailability of water, drainage of sewerage, dilapidated road infrastructure and environmental pollution are the major problems being faced by the residents of settlements in the close vicinities along the route of Orange Line Metro Train.

“The metro train will provide state of the art travelling facilities to thousands of people daily. But people will enjoy this facility at least after one year. Presently, ongoing construction work is a nightmare for thousands of families. We are facing huge difficulties and the problems will multiply manifold in case of good monsoon rains”, said Muhammad Shafiq, a resident of Ali Town.

Forecast of 10-20 per cent above average monsoon rains has already raised concerns among people residing in localities along 27.1 kilometre long route of Orange Line Metro Train from Ali Town at Raiwind Road to Dera Gujran at Grand Trunk Road. When completed, it will connect Raiwind, Multan Road, Mcleod Road, Lahore Junction Railway Station and the GT Road.

Stink of accumulated sewerage water and dilapidated muddy roads are causing inconvenience to the residents and commuters as well.

“The nearby residents have already been exposed to serious environmental hazards. Work on the entire route has been started simultaneously. Besides the main route, digging has been started in nearby localities for lying sewerage. In many areas, roads have not been leveled after lying sewerage lines,” Shafiq told The Nation yesterday while adding it seemed there was no liaison among different agencies.

“Shan Bhatti Road has not been leveled after lying sewerage lines. Just leveling can make this road accessible for cars and bikes. People are the ultimate sufferers of lack of interest on the part of the contractor and executing agencies,” said Nasir-ud-Din, another resident of Ali Town.

“You can see accumulated sewerage water on dilapidated roads. The drainage system lacked capacity to cope with rainy season. WASA has not yet cleared portions of Ali Town, Westwood Colony and Judicial Colony Phase Two inundated during the last rains,” said Muhammad Afzal, a shopkeeper at Shan Bhatti Chowk.

“What will happen in case of good rains and prolonged wet spell when the system lacked capacity to drain routine wastewater,” he added.

Muhammad Luqman, a resident, said: “Stagnant sewerage water has eaten up roads in Westwood Colony. This is disturbing motorists in general and pedestrians in particular. We don’t know why the government is not rehabilitating sewerage lines that have no direct connection with the project.”

“It seems the government has not carried out de-silting of sewerage lines for so many years. The system lacked capacity to drain out sewerage. This is why the entire locality is going through the agony of getting foul smell round the clock,” said Amir Mahmood, a resident of Sabzazar. He further said that new sewerage lines have been laid near Yateemkhana Chowk but these have not been linked with the houses.

“Those laid few years back are not properly draining wastewater. Digging in going on everywhere with no construction work. The entire focus is on construction of track and not on improvement of road infrastructure in nearby localities,” said Ahmed Naeem, a resident of Allama Iqbal Town.

“The entire focus of the government is on completing the project within time frame. For this purpose the work has been started on the entire route. The nearby localities are neglected. We lost a lot of business due to lack of access of the customers. It seems the people at helm of affairs have nothing to do with the interests of the business community and the residents and their only concern is timely completion of the mega project,” said Ramzan Ali, a shopkeeper near Chuburji.

Dysfunctional streetlights are also a major concern for the shopkeepers and residents from GPO Chowk to Lakshami Chowk and from Lahore Hotel to Nicholson Road. There are big potholes and small mud mountains along the under construction route in these areas, causing huge inconvenience to the public.

“You can’t even think about going out in these areas during the night,” said Nasir Ali, resident near Lahore Hotel.

“Water supply is one of the major problems. We need to fetch water from nearby mosque. We go to the house of one of our relatives in Shahdara for washing clothes. We are carrying out this exercise regularly since the start of construction work on the project,” said Muhammad Imran, a resident of Bibi Pakdaman area.

The residents of Singhpura, Baghbanpura, Railways Signal Colony and other localities along the under construction route narrated the similar stories, lamenting indifferent attitude of people at helm of affairs.