People living on Ravi’s banks least bothered to move despite govt attempts


–Bari Dari is facing floods and shanties can submerge anytime

LAHORE: People living in the bed and along the banks of River Ravi near Bara Dari are fighting eviction from flood-prone Ravi have rendered the city district government and provincial authorities virtually helpless in this regard, Pakistan Today has learnt on Saturday.

About 100 houses and shanties on water channels near Ravi River bank have been given verbal eviction orders in the wake of low-level floods. The area near the Bari Dari is facing floods and shanties can submerge anytime in the area. But the residents are least bothered about them.  A slum dweller Aslam lamented the authorities and said he and his family of eight persons had nowhere to go. “I have been living here for years. How can I leave this place? The authorities should keep in mind that I have no other place to live,” he said while talking to Pakistan Today.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, another dweller Shahid, 50, father of 10 children censured the city government authorities for eviction orders. “No one can oust us. The river is our permanent abode. We have befriended the river and it is kind to us,” he said.

The assistant commissioner (City) said all the arrangements have been made to rescue shanties from the floods.  “As the watering level is increasing, we have appointed a permanent team of Rescue 1122 here. We have chalked out a comprehensive plan in this regard. The irrigation department and the tehsil municipal administration have been taken on board. A grand operation will be launched against illegal residents and no one will be spared.

Ravi Town Tehsil Municipal Officer Malik Abrar said the administration is fully prepared to thwart any untoward incident. “We have brought heavy machinery here following the instructions of the mayor of the city. There are 100 plus shanties here and we have asked them to leave on their own. If they resist, their shanties will be demolished and they will be shifted to safer places.”

Indus River and Ravi River are reported to be experiencing low-level flood due to recent moderate-to-heavy monsoon rainfall over the past weeks, according to Flood Warning Division Lahore.

Pakistan has suffered from monsoon floods for the last few years and has been criticised for not doing more to mitigate the dangers posed by these seasonal rains.

In 2010, the worst floods in the country’s history killed almost 1,800 people and affected 21 million.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Metrological Department in its latest forecast on Saturday said monsoon currents are likely to penetrate Pakistan from Sunday that would cause rains in upper and central parts of the country.

The Pakistan Metrological Department predicted low-level floods in the Ravi River in the days to come.

The Met department forecast said rain/dust-thundershower with gusty winds is expected at scattered places of Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore, Sargodha, Faisalabad, Hazara, Peshawar, Mardan, Kohat, Bannu, Dera Ismail Khan divisions and Islamabad from Sunday. Isolated heavy falls are also expected in Rawalpindi, Gujranwala and Lahore divisions on Wednesday and Thursday.

Rain-thunderstorm with gusty winds is expected at scattered places of Malakand division, FATA, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir from Monday evening to Saturday.