Shelters for poor in the Capital - Life in the sordid. By Shamim Mehmood

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Slum settlements (katchi abadis) in the capital city are a challenge to the authorities concerned and they appear feeble to find a lasting solution to this sensitive issue. Besides the inhabitant are living miserable lives in absence of basic necessities such as clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity and gas etc.
Almost all the slums are situated along seasonal rain drains and suffer during rainy spell every year. During the raining season every year, these seasonal drains overflow and sometimes take their life and belongings altogether.
According to the sources, recently, a young man Salman Masih s/o Ilyas Masih was swept away by flood water near French Colony, F-7/4 and today his dead body was found after two days from a Nullah near Bahria Town. The devastation is mostly caused due to the non-construction of safety walls around inhabited localities. CDA, being the sole municipal authority in the Capital, has miserably failed to fulfill its fundamental responsibility of constructing these walls to ensure safety of human lives.
Capital Development Authority (CDA) authorities held a meeting later to review the performance of the Flood Relief Cell. Chairman CDA directed officials concerned to keep a strict watch on affected areas.
Most of these slums dwellers originally hail from different parts of the country and some say that they left their homes to escape abject poverty and sometimes persecution. Christians are a prominent part of the slums population and their women often work as housemaids while men do blue collar jobs or work as laborers.
Reliable statistics reveals eleven katchi abadies, including Hansa Colony, Charles Colony, Faisal Colony, 66 Quarters, French Colony, Awami Colony, 100 Quarters, Issa Nagri, Maskeen Colony, Mushraf Colony, and 48 Quarters have legal status under the Urban Shelter Program of Capital Development Authority (CDA), whereas rests were set up due to the negligence of the concerned departments. The concerned authorities have given them legal status but the dwellers still deprived of the basic facilities.
A report compiled by the local organization shows continuous increase in the number of “katchi Abadis” or slums, in Federal Capital
Nadeem Hassan Asif, Chairman CDA said that authorities will follow the government policy in provision of the facilities and will remove illegal slums in the city.

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