Fund shortage plunges streets into darkness

LAHORE:

The Metropolitan Corporation Lahore (MCL) has started constructing highways and streets across the city which will cost it more than Rs3 billion, but, ironically, it has no funds to replace the non-functioning streetlights with the new ones.

Development work could not be done by the Lahore Metropolitan Corporation during the last two-and-a-half years due to discontinuity of elected representatives in the local bodies in the Metropolitan Corporation and the supervisory setup in the country.

Although there are 274 union councils in Lahore, yet they are unable to provide municipal services. Apart from the construction and repair of some highways in the city, no other work could be done. Citizens are facing severe problems due to potholed roads and lack of street- lights in the neighborhoods across the city.

Sewage problems as well as that of water supply are also increasing. The Administrator of the Metropolitan Corporation of Lahore, Rafia Haider, who is also a deputy commissioner, said that 414 projects comprising small and big development works had been started in the city, and more than 40% of those schemes had been completed, and work on the rest was being done rapidly.

Instructions had been issued to the officers that there would be no compromise on the quality of work. Among them, over one billion rupees would be spent on the construction of eight major roads. Sixty- six small schemes had also been included in the road construction and repair program which would cost Rs872.7 million.

Similarly, 44 schemes of walkways had also been included which would cost more than Rs480 million. 299 patchwork schemes had been included on the main highways and adjoining streets of the city, which would cost more than Rs2.85 billion.

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New schemes were not included in the development works because caretaker governments were not allowed to take up new schemes. In response to a question, she said that since new schemes had not been included under the tenure of the caretaker government nor were streetlights purchased, they had been fixing the old streetlights with whatever resources they had to solve people’s problems.

As far as the problems of sewage and water supply are concerned, the Managing Director of Wasa, Ghafran Ahmed, said that since no new schemes had been initiated under the caretaker setup, Wasa had been doing its best to serve the people with the authority’s limited resources.

A survey in May last year had disclosed that about 70 per cent of the streetlights in the metropolis had not been in working condition, and the proportion of the functional lights was decreasing due to which the citizens were facing problems.

A resident of the city, while speaking to The Express Tribune, had asserted that the authorities made efforts to keep the street lights properly lit on the important routes of the city used by the VIPs. However, negligence was shown regarding installation of streetlights in the low-in- come areas.

Due to the lack of the facility, the areas plunged into darkness at night and the residents faced difficulty in travelling. They were exposed to the risk of crimes as well as accidents

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