Hundreds of citizens staged protests on Sunday against the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) and the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) against shortage of water in different areas of the metropolis.
Residents of Mustafa Town, Garhi Shahu, Gulshan-e-Ravi, Multan Road, Mall Road and other areas had to suffer as unannounced power cuts and ongoing construction work triggered water shortage.
The protests were held in Neelum Block area of Allama Iqbal Town and Dharmapura where charged citizens, including women and children, took to roads and chanted slogans against the authorities.
Protesters in Neelum Block said that “they have been facing water shortage for the last two months. WASA is reluctant to resolve the issue. The situation is becoming unbearable.”
Muhammad Aslam, a resident of Neelum Block, told Pakistan Today that the locals have informed the authorities about the problem time and again but they don’t seem to pay heed. “Water shortage in this scorching summer has made our lives miserable,” he said, adding that they have to buy water from market for drinking.
A woman protester said that the government’s failure to manage water crisis in this hot weather shows how cruel they are. “Will they resolve the issue after we protest on Mall Road like the nurses and teachers do,” she asked.
Residents of Ram Garh were protesting against the WASA over supply of contaminated water in the area. The protesters were carrying bottles filled with contaminated water, to rail against callous attitude of the WASA authorities.
They said that they were being supplied with contaminated water for the more than a year but the authorities don’t seem to care about the problem.
Muhammad Asim, another resident of the area, said that her sister had died of diarrhea three days ago, after drinking contaminated water, while a nephew of his is currently suffering from diarrhea.
Residents also demanded the authorities to lodge First Information Report (FIR) against WASA.
SDO WASA Rana Rafaqat assured the protesters that the issue of contaminated water will be resolved as soon as the department changes the 20 year old pipelines.
When contacted, WASA spokesman told Pakistan Today that the demand of water has increased due to summer and that’s why the people of Allama Iqbal Town areas are facing shortage of water. He said that load shedding is causing the water shortage.
Talking about the water issue in Ramgarh area, Ghauri said that due to the ongoing construction work of Orange Line Metro (OMT) project people are suffering contamination issue because many pipe lines have been broken, and added that WASA is trying to fix the broken pipelines as soon as possible.
Following increased number of complaints regarding water shortages, CDGL and WASA held an important meeting to discuss the strategy to overcome the crisis. A meeting was held at Town Hall and was chaired by DCO Lahore Capt. (r) Muhammad Usman and WASA Vice Chairman MPA Ch Shehbaz while MD Wasa, Town Administrators and TMOs also attended it.
Addressing the meeting, the DCO Lahore Capt (r) Muhammad Usman stated that it was the responsibility of the district administration and its allied civic agencies to provide regular supply of water in all corners of the city for which all necessary arrangements would be made.