Rain brings miseries to gas consumers
ISLAMABAD, Feb 22: Heavy rainfall has disrupted daily life in much of the region, including Murree, Attock, and Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
With more rain forecast for the next 24 hours, residents complained about struggles with gas, electricity and sewerage.
The rain and overcast weather on Friday brought down temperatures in the region by around six degrees; the twin cities saw a minimum of 9 degrees celsius, expected to fall further.
The cold weather forced citizens in Rawalpindi, outlying parts of Islamabad, and Attock to confront low gas pressures and loadshedding.
Wila Zehra, a resident of Double Road, in Rawalpindi, said, “We usually do our cooking and other things that require gas on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, since those are the CNG loadshedding days. But now all our routines have been disrupted.”
In Attock, increased use of heaters in homes and offices brought the same difficulties.
Because of the demand for domestic heating, the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines system recorded an increase of over 10 per cent in 24 hours.
An official from SNGPL said that gas demand in Rawalpindi and Islamabad “has reached around 150-160 million cubic feet, compared to 130 on Thursday evening.”
He added that the demand was not confined to the two cities, “but has been observed in almost all parts of central and northern Punjab.”
More general problems were recorded in Attock, where the rain caused breakdowns in the electric system in various urban areas.
Because of the cold, there has been an increase in patients, particularly children, coming to clinics with coughs, fever, flu and chest pains.
In low-lying urban areas, water has entered homes and flooded streets, overwhelming drainage systems, and in much of the city construction work and related businesses have been almost entirely suspended. The economic impact is most severe on labourers and those receiving daily wages.
Traffic throughout the region has also been affected.
In Murree, which had received 9 inches of snow by Friday evening, with more expected over the next few days, authorities are attempting to clear the highways.
Water levels in the Indus and Haro Rivers have risen, and nullahs in parts of Attock district have flooded, damaging bridges and affecting agricultural land.
Not everyone is unhappy about the weather, however. Farmers, in particular, are grateful for the rain, which is beneficial for wheat and other seasonal crops.
In Kanghuta village, in Islamabad’s rural area, a farmer named Fida Shah said: “You can see the difference just one day after the rain ends. The moment it gets some sunshine, the wheat will be shining green.”
The Met Office clarified that widespread rain and thunder are expected for parts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan for the next 24 hours, with snow in higher areas. Northern Balochistan and northern and central Sindh are expected to receive scattered rainfall.
By Friday evening, the highest rainfall recorded was in Murree, which had received 48mm; Islamabad and Rawalpindi received 42, while Muzaffarabad, Balakot, Peshawar and Kohat all received over 20mm. The coldest recorded temperature in Pakistan for the past day was in Parachinar, where the mercury went down to -7 degrees C. It was also below freezing in Murree and Malamjabba, where the temperature was -2 degrees C.