LAHORE – Excavated roads that currently ‘adorn’ almost every part of the provincial capital pose a serious threat to the life and property of citizens, particularly with the advent of the monsoon season, a survey conducted by TheNation reveals.

Surprisingly, this year, the digging of City roads for development purposes has continued – on behalf of the Punjab government, City District Government Lahore, and Lahore Development Authority and its subordinate departments – even in the monsoon season. The problem is that excessive and untimely rains could fill the excavated roads with water, turning them into ponds and drains that may result in major accidents.

In the past, provincial governments either completed development projects before the start of the monsoon season or refrained from launching new ones at this time of the year. One may term it acting in haste, but the PML-N government in Punjab also has to keep an eye on the upcoming general elections scheduled for late this year or early next year!

Fortunately, the City is yet to receive a heavy shower though the monsoon season is underway. The metrological department had forecast rain with thunderstorms last week; however, its inability to forecast correctly has proved to be a blessing for Lahorites, especially for the residents of those localities where government contractors have left development projects unfinished and deep excavations uncovered.

“That is why the people living and the buildings situated on the edge of the areas where roads have been excavated are still safe,” remarks Nabeel Ahmad, owner of a plaza on Ferozpur Road.

For some unknown reasons, the pace of ongoing development projects is slow, though the need of the hour is to cover the excavated roads before the City experiences heavy rain. It goes without saying that government departments and contractors must complete ongoing development projects at the earliest to avoid any accident involving life and property of the citizens.

Along with a dozen other development projects, the mega Bus Rapid Transport System project, extending from Ferozpur Road to Shahdara, is also pending for construction. The contractors have excavated some major roads of the City – including Ferozpur Road, Lytton Road, Lower Mall and Ravi Road – for constructing a bus track in their middle, but what if excessive rains lash out at the City?

The residents and businesspeople of the affected areas, while talking to this scribe, said road excavations had paralyzed their routine life and played havoc with their businesses, causing them huge financial losses. Mian Rauf, a trader of Ferozpur Road, feared that deep digging might severely damage the buildings situated on the edge of the under-constructed roads in case of rain.

Advocate Rana Asad, a resident of Lytton Road, suggested that expert opinion must be sought before starting any development project during the monsoon season.

He attributed the ongoing practice of continuing excavation work during the monsoon season to poor planning by government departments and agencies.