Weak regulatory check on housing societies by the civic agency and district administration was the explanation for the tragic incident in E-11 where two people died thanks to urban flooding while three cars and a number of other motorcycles were washed away.
A woman and her child were killed within the unapproved Medical Cooperative Housing Society in E-11/2 when gushing water from an overflowing nullah, broke the rear wall of the house and entered the basement.
E-11, located within the heart of the town , is dotted with unauthorised high-rise buildings and a number of other illegal cooperative housing schemes. However, no serious action was taken against them by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and district administration, which affect such housing schemes.
On the opposite hand, housing schemes and other owners have narrowed down nullahs that cross through the world . the road where the affected home is located has been built on a nullah.
During a visit to the world , it had been noted that seemingly the incident happened thanks to heavy rain (103mm) and existence of narrow nullahs.
The nullah within the E-12/D-12 side was covered and narrowed down thanks to construction of the housing society; after around 200 metres, it joins another narrow stream coming from the D-11 side, creating a bottleneck, forcing the water to gush out.
The water entered the basements of an outsized number of homes and commercial plazas and till evening the owners of buildings remained busy in draining the water out.
This is E-11 sector in Islamabad. Few hours rain created horrible scenes. We may see more similar scenes in coming days. We can only control floods if we understand #ClimateCrises and #ClimateChange pic.twitter.com/N1XS1EJGFu
— Hamid Mir (@HamidMirPAK) July 28, 2021
“After offering Fajr prayers, I saw flash flood inundating our street. i attempted to run away, but I couldn’t do so thanks to water within the street. it had been a terrible scene,” said Farhan Zafar, a resident of the worst-affected street of E-11.The deaths happened during a house in Zafar’s neighbourhood.
“When I heard screaming and mourning, i assumed my neighbours are worried thanks to flash flood, but later we came to understand that rainwater had entered their basement from the rear side of their house,” he said.
Another resident, Chaudhry Saeed, said: “We were helpless; we saw the flash flood, which also washed away a minimum of three cars and a few motorcycles.”
He recalled that a couple of years ago, the management of the society had built a road on the nullah after covering it. He said the nullah had also become a dumping site for the societies operating in E-11.
Real Estate Golra, which also falls in E-11, was exempted from acquisition by the orders of former president Gen Ayub Khan thanks to presence of the Golra shrine. Therefore, CDA didn’t acquire the world , except some of it, namely the northern strip, which was allotted to those suffering from land acquisition in F-11 and F-12.
Those allotted the land, however, sold it to non-public developers, who built five housing schemes within the sectors. These are Medical Cooperative, Federation Cooperative, Federal Services Society, Police Foundation and Multi-Professional Housing Society.
Many other developers have also constructed unauthorised multi-storey apartment buildings in E-11.
Two pass on as rains cause metropolitan flooding in capital
Sources in CDA said the Medical, Federation and Services cooperative housing schemes didn’t have the approved layout plan and therefore the civic agency’s no objection certificate. They said the layout plan of Medical Housing Scheme was approved, but thanks to violations it had been cancelled a few years ago.
The CDA after cancelling the layout plan didn’t take any action to prevent growth of the scheme, whereas office of registrar, Cooperative Housing Society of ICT also did not take any action.
Like E-11, there was flooding in D-12 and a few other areas of Islamabad. Rainwater entered in slums of F-6, F-7, G-6 and in some houses of G-7.
CDA’s rescuers and officials of fireside brigade, sanitation directorate and water system remained busy within the operation . CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat also visited E-11.
Addressing a joint news conference , CDA Member Finance Rana Shakeel Asghar and DC Hamza Shafqaat told journalists that the operation for draining out water from all affected areas of Islamabad had been completed.
Mr Asghar said the society had been served a show-cause notice while CDA had decided to see construction and bylaws of all housing societies.