LAHORE: Residents of 33 houses in the Walled City have been unable to live in their homes for over a month after a water pipeline burst and damaged their homes.
“We have been living away from our houses for over a month now,” Javed Iqbal, a resident of Kucha Kakkezian, told The Express Tribune. Iqbal said he had been living in the locality for 40 years. “I do not know where I am supposed to go now,” he said.
He said the Walled City of Lahore Authority (WCLA) officers had inspected the houses after the incident and had declared them unfit for living.
Notices pasted on the houses by WCLA dated August 25, 2015 state that residents can no longer live there. The notices also state that they will have to get permission from the WCLA before demolishing or repairing the houses.
According to residents, almost a 100 families have been affected by the incident. Most of them have moved away since then. In some cases, they have left behind one family member to take care of the property.
Wasim Javed said that his family had shifted away but he had stayed behind to take care of their belongings. “We do not have any place to take our furniture and other stuff,” he said.
Taimur Hassan’s house is also located in the same area. “WCLA officials visited the area and left after pasting notices on the damaged houses. The DCO also came. However, they have not done anything to help them,” he said.
Hassan said that the incident had been caused by government departments’ negligence and not the residents. “We should be compensated for the damage. We do not have enough money to repair our houses,” he said.
Other residents of the locality complained of continuing damage due to water.
The buildings within the area show signs of significant water damage. “The government should take notice of the issue and do something to prevent the damage being done to our houses,” Iqbal said.
Tania Qureshi, the WCLA communications director, said that the pipeline was very old and that was why it had burst. “The incident did not occur due to any work being carried out by the WCLA,” she said.
She said that the authority would ask the government for additional funds to repair the houses because it wanted to help the people in the Walled City.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.