Lahore: Wahga, a village of Lahore situated at 600 meters inside of Pakistan, faces terrible environmental conditions as it is completely ignored by the government despite being an important part of Lahore, the capital of Punjab.
Wahga is one of the nine towns of Lahore that consists of more than one hundred villages. It is situated in between Lahore and Amritsar near the Redcliff line drawn at the time of Partition. This town has witnessed and hosted a large number of immigrants at the time of partition and the historical Wahga railway station is another centre for tourism and trade.
Wahga is also known for the parade ceremony held at borderline by the Rangers Pakistan and Border Security Force India.
According to the Director WWF Muhammad Abubakar this town produces most of the air and waste pollution that is ten times more than the world health standard. Leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf and candidate for national assembly seat in 2013 election Chaudhary Talib Sindhu sided with WWF director.
“Our town has nine union councils but it’s really unfortunate that none of these union councils can claim of having any basic facilities for people. Hundreds of thousands of people of this town do not have a single health facility. They are supposed to travel more than 25 to 30 kilometer to reach any public hospital which is a pity,” he told News Lens Pakistan.
In this town there is only one trust hospital that was built on the lands of Ghurki family, the family that came into power four times since 1988, but people are not happy with their performance.
Haroon Mayo, resident of Wahga, is worried about the ongoing projects of housing societies, the pollution being produced by the brick kilns and other factories situated in this area.
“There is hardly any sewerage system in this town. People suffer from gastro and other diseases caused by the dirty water. The purity of under ground water is being damaged so rapidly by the waste of factories,” he said.
Mayo further stated, “Although it’s a country side but you can’t feel freshness in air because of the pollution. The unpaved roads, increase in health issues and street crimes are also major concerns but there is no one to pay attention to the agony of the public”.
Former Federal Minister Samina Khalid Ghurki puts the blame on provincial government by saying that it is the domain of the Punjab government to provide sufficient funds to the Managing Trainee Officers MTO’s for the development.
“Being a minister I tried a lot to acquire funds for my constituency but those were insufficient to address all issues. Punjab government led by PMLN wasn’t interested to give a single penny as the voters’ selected PPP candidate. We built a trust hospital for the poor residents of this area but provincial government doesn’t have anything to offer,” she said while talking to News Lens Pakistan.
Shalimar town, adjacent to Wahga, is a heavily populated area. The inhabitants of this area face the same kind of issues as the residents of Wahga.
PPP leader and candidate for national assembly in 2013 Aziz Ul Rehman Chan told News Lens Pakistan that this area belongs to land mafia and factory owners. Many major public and private industries are operational here but there is no management and planning to control chemical waste and pollution.
“Sewerage system is worthless and this town has the largest number of dengue patients every year yet sanitation isn’t one of the prime concerns neither for the representatives of this area nor for provincial government. There is only one private hospital and most of the people do not even have access to clean drinking water,” he said.
“More than ten billion rupees have been spent for the development of this area which means that what is being told should be considered as propaganda,” MNA and leader of PMLN Malik Pervaiz told News Lens Pakistan.
“Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is convinced to build a public hospital to cater the residents of these two towns. Furthermore, before Monsoon season workforce of WASA (Water and Sanitation Authority) will complete the project of under ground pipes replacement. Along with these efforts government is trying to address all issues with its full capacity,” he added.
PTI leader Atif Chaudhry while talking to News Lens Pakistan said that these two towns have more than twenty primary and secondary public schools where students neither have any basic facilities nor the teaching staff is available according to the need.
“Local body elections are badly needed to improve the basic facilities of areas. Present government is busy developing central Lahore while the funds of other departments and areas are being spent on one or two major projects of Lahore such as metro bus service and ring road. We wish to have local bodies as quickly as possible to get some funds for under developed areas where under privileged citizens are living,” he added.