My editorial for Balochistan Times on 20th May, 2019
Rains are essential to sustain the ecosystems and the physical environment of humans and plants. Therefore, any spell of drought only brings diseases, hunger and death not only the human populations but also to other living beings. Unfortunately, for the inhabitants of Quetta, disease, hunger and death await in either case. During the times when drought occurs, matters are comprehensible because droughts increase food insecurity, water scarcity and level of pollution in the physical environment leading to vulnerability of human population. Ultimately, man has to bear the brunt of the foregoing phenomena. However, the rainy days, instead of being bliss, cause human populations to suffer in Quetta not because anything is wrong with rains but the management of the only mega city in the province.
Recent rains in Quetta proved to be one such instance which belied all the tall claims of the authorities concerned regarding the uninterrupted sewerage lines. Soon after the downpours battered the city, the sewerage system seized to breathe smoothly. With its suffocation, overflow of sewage on Sabzal Road, Sariab Road, Spinny Road, Khilji Colony, Killi Barat, Zarghoon Road, Sirki Road, Pushtunabad and many other parts of the city made it an eyesore for the beholders. Students, women, children, and pedestrian of all age were victims of the failure of the sewerage system of the provincial capital.
The previous Government of Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri made attractive claims for the revival of beauty of Quetta. In the fiscal budget for 2016-17, whose total volume was Rs. 289.35 billion, a sum of Rs. 10 million was earmarked for water supply schemes for provincial capital and another sum of Rs 5 billion was allocated for beautification and improvement of infrastructure in Quetta.
However, with the lapse of that financial year, Quetta still remains under the debris of same problems which have, in fact, aggravated further with each passing day. Barring few fancy lights on the poles and street light pylons, nothing ‘beautiful’ has happened in Quetta so far. Nobody knows what happened to those 5 billion rupees and where they were spent.
Current Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Aliyani, soon after assumption of the charge, expressed his astonishment and told newsmen that no development work has taken place in Quetta. “I`m astonished why previous governments did nothing for the city and due to their lethargy and negligence Quetta has now become a pile of garbage,” told Chief Minister after getting a briefing from the Quetta’s administrator Ghulam Farooq Langov on the matters of the Metropolitan. With the expression of this astonishment, he too vowed to restore the beauty of the Quetta city. But how would that beauty be restored is yet to be seen as the gushing gutters and sewerage lines of the city have made it hard for the layman to even breath in free space. As the drops of rain race towards the ground, the foul smell coming out of failed sewerage system grips entire city with filth rolling on the roads with an ugly gaze on every passer-by.
The current government should leave a legacy that may translate the proverbial beauty of Quetta a reality for the inhabitants of this city as practicable actions, not talks, guarantee change.