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Lahore: Residents protest at living conditions in DHA Sector-XX

LAHORE: Sector-XX of Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Phase III is the most neglected sector of the housing society when it comes to environmental conditions, residents of the sector told Daily Times.

Residents criticised the authority, alleging that it did not pay attention to their living conditions. They said that the major problems they faced were: foul smell, overflowing sewers, lack of plantation, uneven land and plazas overlooking into their houses.

Sajid Niazi, a resident of the area, said he had approached senior DHA officials many times to complain about the unhygienic conditions in Sector-XX. He said that the authorities never took any action on his complaints. He claimed that wastewater coming from Chungi Amar Sidhu was dumped in the sector. He said that DHA had made many plans to resolve the issue, but nothing had actually been done.

Niazi said that there were 19 plazas in front of the row of houses he lived in. He said that the plazas’ windows opened towards their houses, invading their privacy. He said that he had bought land in Sector-XX because at the time DHA had mentioned many development projects in its master plan for the sector.

Dr Muhammad Nawaz Chaudhry, an environmentalist at Punjab University, said that the residents near the wastewater were in danger. He said, “No civilised society can approve a residential area with a pond of wastewater.” He said that the breeding of mosquitoes in the pond could trigger the outbreak of fatal diseases such as malaria, dengue and diarrhoea.

DHA Public Relations Officer Tajammul Hussain said Sector-XX was “in the developing stage”. He said new pipelines would soon start working to dispose off the wastewater. He said that development projects like plantation and the beautification of the sector would be launched soon.

An official of the Environment Protection Department (EPD) claimed that the department could take action if it wanted to, but no officer was ready to tackle DHA. He alleged that officers at EPD took money to doctor Initial Environment Examination reports and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) reports for housing societies. EIA Director Khalid Mehmood defended EPD, saying all reports were compiled on merit and then issued by the department.

EPD Secretary Shahnawaz Badar said that nobody was above the law. He claimed that EPD had punished every person who had violated environment laws. He said that EPD teams would soon visit Sector-XX and would investigate.

The residents living near wastewater are in danger. No civilised society can approve a residential area with a pond of wastewater. The breeding of mosquitoes in the pond can trigger the outbreak of fatal diseases such as malaria, dengue and diarrhoea
– Dr Muhammad Nawaz Chaudhry, environmentalist at Punjab University

The Environment Protection Department can take action if it wants to, but no officer is ready to tackle the DHA
– An EPD official

The windows of 19 plazas open towards houses in the back, invading their privacy
– A resident

Source: Daily times

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