LAHORE - Parts of the country received downpour on Saturday, bringing life to a standstill by causing urban flooding and frequent power shutdowns. The downpour disturbed normal routine life in major cities as the rainwater inundated roads not only in low-lying areas but also in several posh localities. Rainwater and slippery conditions of roads caused massive traffic jams. The rain, however, provided respite to the people from the prevailing harsh weather conditions.

In Lahore, the rain started at 11:30 am and continued till 1:40 pm, submerging roads and streets into deep water. The heavy monsoon rain spell smashed the Wasa claims to the ground regarding its preparation for the rainy season as it took hours to the sanitation agency to clear roads from inundated rainwater. Major roads, not only in Northern side but also in several posh localities, were presenting pictures of lakes and ponds even hours after the rain stopped. Many roads were not cleared even six to eight hours. The rain added to the woes of motorists and pedestrians. Massive traffic jams were witnessed at major roads while several incidents of skidding of motorcycles were also reported from various parts of the city.

Main Boulevard Gulberg, Lakshami Chowk, Garhi Shahu, Chowk Nakhuda, Mozang, Tharenten Road, Revaz Garden, Chuburji, Aziz Road, Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Hameed Nizami Road, Zeldar Road, Ghazi Road, Dr Majid Nizami Road, Johar Town, Samanabad, Iqbal Town, Wahdat Colony, Rehman Pura, Nicholsen Road, Sanda Railway Road, Shadbagh, Circular Road, Saidpur, Shahnoor, Scheme Mor, Sabzazar, Abbot Road, Montgomery Road, Gawalmandi, Data Nagar, Abdul Karim Road, R A Bazar, Nishat Colony, Tajpura, Mughalpura, Maskeen Pura and Joray Pul were the worst affected areas as far as inundation of rainwater in concerned.

On Saturday, maximum and minimum temperature in the city was 29 to 24 degree celsius respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 96 percent. The people come out of their homes in the evening to enjoy pleasant change in weather after the heavy monsoon rain. Parks and picnic spots attracted a large number of people including women and children in the evening. Huge rush was witnessed at Bagh-e-Jinnah, the Racecourse Park, Gulshan-e-Iqbalm Park, Jallo Park and Lahore Zoo in the evening. The experts forecast well marked seasonal low lies over Northwest Balochistan and adjoining areas with its trough extending northeastwards. Monsoon currents are reaching upper parts of the country.

A fresh western disturbance is affecting upper parts of the country and likely to persist during next 2 to 3 days. The local meteorological department has forecast widespread rain-thundershower  associated with gusty winds in Kashmir, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Lahore Hazara, Malakand divisions during the next 2-3 days. The rain is also expected at scattered places of Peshawar, Bannu, Kohat, D I Khan, Sargodha, Faisalabad and Gilgit-Baltistan.

On Saturday, Islamabad received 218 mm rain, Gujranwala 134 mm, Sialkot 133 mm, Rawalakot 108 mm, Gujrat 67 mm, Lahore 62 mm, Jhelum 54 mm, Mangala 46 mm, Garidupata 43 mm, Kotli 40 mm, Muzaffarabad and Murree 25 mm each, Garhi Dupatta and Lower Dir 23 mm each, Malamjabba and Chaklala 19 mm each, Chakwal, Dir and Saidu Sharif 17 mm each, M B Din 16 mm, Balakot 15 mm, Kakul 13 mm, Rawalpindi 12 mm, Risalpur and Barkhan 5 mm each.

Rainy visit

MNA Hamza Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday visited various low-lying areas after heavy rain in the city and inspected the steps taken for drainage of the rain water.

He directed Wasa and other authorities concerned  to utilise all possible means for immediate disposal of water. Provincial Food Minister Bilal Yaseen, Commissioner of Lahore, MD of Wasa and other concerned officers accompanied him .

Hamza went into the water at Lakshmi Chowk and inquired from MD Wasa and Commissioner about the early drainage of water. On the occasion, people of the area informed Hamza about the problems created by the deep standing water. Talking to media on the occasion, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif said that the problem of disposal of water from Lakshmi Chowk and some areas of walled city is more than fifty years old and a long term policy is needed t solve it on permanent basis. He said that billions of rupees are required for completion of a comprehensive draining project of walled city. He assured that PML-N government would make its best efforts for resolving this basic problem of the citizens during five years’ term.

Hamza Shahbaz Sharif said that all low lying areas are continuously monitored by central control room set up at DCO office during rain and water disposal machinery and concerned officers immediately come to the field.

Directives

Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman  directed Wasa and the Tma officials to remain vigilant during monsoon season. He issued these directions during his visit to EK-Moria Pul and Chowk Nakhuda after the rain. The minister inspected the process of sanitation and removal of garbage in various parts of the city.

In another meeting while addressing party workers, doctors and a delegation of local chemists at his residence, he said that the government will ensure supply of standardised medicines to the people and the relevant laws will be strictly implemented, whereas three drug testing laborites are being established at Multan, Rawalpindi and Lahore besides two food testing Laborites will be setup at Faisalabad and Rawalpindi as the government has issued Rs15 crore for this purpose. He said improper storage facilities and violations of hygienic principles were causing a number of dangerous diseases.