LAHORE - Even 38 degree Celsius temperature can make you head spin especially in early summer when you are stuck in a traffic jam for hours. You have no option but to wait for it to clear and if possible get some water from somewhere near to beat off the heat, whose real feel is 44 degree mainly to due fumes coming from the vehicles.

There was traffic jam on Empress Road and its adjoining arteries during the rush hours from 12:30pm to 2:30pm yesterday. The scenario emerged as there was protest near Haji Camp opposite the Naukalha Church by residents of the area. For more than four months the water supply has been cut to the areas on both sides of the road from Lakshami Chowk to the Haji Camp due to the ongoing development work of Orange Line Metro Train Project. No drinking water or for use in washrooms is available. The project directors have not bothered to provide any alternative to the residents.

The traffic mess could be seen on all the small roads connecting the Empress Road with other parts of city. It was time when there was lunch break in offices and schools and colleges had closed. There was heavy rush of traffic. The scene was haywire and desperate at the same time. Everyone was trying to find its way out of the mess somehow but nobody was succeeding. At first there were too many horn honks but then when it became clear to everybody that it was not going to end so soon, it became a quiet. Everyone was sweating profusely and many small children could be seen crying while their parents tried in vain to assure them they would soon be home. The sweat, humidity and the congestion of traffic took its toll as many elderly people who could not stand the heat could be seen trying to find shade.

Moving away from the traffic jam the scribe tried to meet the protesters who were now quietly dispersing. A voice shouted at the scribe from among the crowd. It was the insurance guy Ronald, who was this scribe’s class fellow in school. “I missed meeting with my client and perhaps now would not be able to meet my target,” he lamented while cursing the traffic jam.

Both sides of the Abbot Road have very congested population and they are without water supply for more than four months. “Our lifestyle has been terribly disturbed. We have to go to our relatives who live in Awan Town for washing our clothes and to take bath. We buy bottled water for drinking and cooking food. The question of getting water for toilet and cleaning the house is out of question. The landline phone lines have been cut for nearly three months now. The whole situation is nightmarish,” Mrs Imran Khalid who lives on Fleming Road said.

“We are tired of eating food from restaurants and of course it is costly too. I have three daughters (all school going). All of them had throat infection and fever at some time in the last two months and it was all due to dust,” she further explained.

The residents right to protest is justified but the plight of poor pedestrians and motorists should also be taken into account. The government needs to look into the grave issue and immediately ensure steps to end people’s misery.