Excellent work was done in DHA for draining out of flood water in 2007/2008 by Brigadier Kamran Qazi, than Administrator DHA, to overcome possibility of flooding during the monsoon. This helped a lot in getting rid of stagnant water on the roads when it rained. However this now requires re-vamping. Due to blockages here and there in these drains, and at places due to poor maintenance, the residents of some areas had to suffer in the recent rains, the intensity of which incidentally was not seen for 90 years. DHA and CBC together have been initiating its contingency plans before the rains came i.e. desilting of storm water drains was carried out during May to July 2020 in Kh-e-Shamsher and Mujahid, Kh-e-Sehar and Muhafiz Commerical Avenue, E Street, B Street and Kh-e-Bahria, 5th Street and 12th Lane etc, while open nullahs were also desilted such as the drain along Korangi Road near Mehmoodabad Road, Jami Nullah, Transit Camp, the drain along old Sunset Boulevard and along Ch. Khaliquzzaman Road, Nehr-e-Khayyam, Mehmoodabad nullah, and many others. For this massive exercise CBC incurred additional expenditure of Rs. 49.086 million on the desilting process besides also procuring additional resources i.e. machinery and equipment. The machinery & dewatering equipment employed: 150 vehicles and included 150 petrol engine pumps, 11 canal pumps, 8 mobile hydrants, 4 turbines with 10 HP motor. Additional resources that were employed included 6 peter pumps, 40 suction pumps, 10 suction pumps for grey water bowzers, 15000 Rft suction and delivery pipes and 45 suction bowzers. Three excavators and 6 dumpers were hired.
The Armed Forces and Rangers came to their rescue of DHA residents to drain out the flood water as quickly as was possible. Whenever the average in other areas of Karachi was 9-10 days, most area were cleared in 1-4 days. To ease the suffering of affected residents CBC had set up 10 relief camps and distributed more than 500 food packages amongst affected families during rescue operations. Residents protested angrily in front of the CBC office, mainly because of two problem areas, viz (a) inability to quickly clear off accumulated rain water and (b) provision of insufficient water and While the demonstrators had every right to voice their grievances and protest, peacefully, there was no need to take the law into their own hands and resort to rioting and violence.
In order to address the pressing problems of DHA residents, CBC has installed 44 water filtration and one RO plant, they have planned to establish (a) more sanitation and filtration plant to provide sufficient potable and drinking water (b) planning is in the work-to revive the DHA COGEN Power and Desalination Plant so as to have their own power house like Bahria Karachi (c) work is in hand to set in a system of underground cables to be made water proof instead of having open wiring (d) Existing drainage system is being improved on a high priority basis and underground water tanks are being made as done by Government of Punjab in Lahore. Those will be connected with sewerage lines to avoid flooding on one side while using this water for the plants instead of wasting DHA supplied water (e) DHA and CBC alongwith K-Electric are revisiting their emergency plans in light of what residents and their departments have experienced during the recent heavy rains. Setting up a desalination plant were announced sometime ago.
In a candid talk with the CPNE Executive Committee, Brig Abid Askari, Station Commander Karachi and President CBC and Brig Asim Administrator DHA encouraged objective suggestions to enhance the residents comfort and security it was encouraging to see that their mandate for being actively progressive were on the direct instructions of the Corps Commander 5 Corps Lt Gen Humayun Aziz. Incidentally the Corps Comd must be lauded for taking a number of quick decisions which spared Karachi a greater disaster than that which unfolded. Bahria Housing Society was established 40 years later and therefore has an advantage over DHA with regards to quality of life / services being provided. To keep up its name as a leader amongst the land developer / housing societies, DHA Karachi certainly has to improve services beyond any doubt to win the hearts of its existing residents. However why is it that prices of land and houses in DHA Karachi exceed that of Bahria multiple times. The acid test of quality is whether a potential home owner or investor, puts his/her money in. Disasters notwithstanding why does DHA Karachi still remain the object of buyer’s desire? (the writer is a defence and security analyst).