Rain brings Peshawar to a grinding halt

Two-hour-long torrential rain on the eighth of September brought Peshawar to a grinding halt. The Meteorological Office had duly issued an alert well in advance. The rain fell on the provincial capital from 10am to midday. Within 120 minutes, the stretch of Grand Trunk Road from Sooray Pul to Gulbahar Flyover turned into a muddy river. The vehicular traffic became dysfunctional. The motorists looked confused and sought help. The drivers climbed out of taxicabs and pushed the vehicles aside.

The rainwater entered the underpass in Chowk Yadgar. It damaged the traders’ cloth, electronics and other expensive merchandise amounting to millions of rupees. Basements of traders in Peshawar Cantonment could not remain dry. For hours on end, the General Bus Stand and the Lahore Bus Terminal remained under three-foot deep water. Teams of Rescue 1122 and squads of Water and Sanitation Service Peshawar (WSSP) helped in draining out the water. WSSP said that it had identified as many as 25 places, where it feared that water could burst out.

As a measure of crisis management, the police on duty swung into action. It diverted the traffic coming from the University Road towards Shami Road. Similarly, the Saddar-bound traffic was diverted towards the Bacha Khan Flyover. During the season of monsoon showers, the city’s municipal officials could at least take some precautionary measures. For example, they could check the manholes on busy roads. Moreover, the regular de-silting of ‘nullas’ (open drains) and the safe removal of the silt was essential. Waiting for rains to come and take the town hostage is no way to govern a metropolitan city like Peshawar.