Legislators seek details of flood damages from NDMA

By Ijaz Kakakhel

A legislative body of Upper House of parliament on Friday directed the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) to provide details of the losses incurred by floods over various regions including AJ&K and Gilgit Baltistan.

They were of the view that the losses to national infrastructure in the recent flood were very big and proper assessment should be made. After reducing water level in different areas of flood affected areas, along with relief activities, the assessment of destruction should be made so that funds should be arrange. The Committee while reviewing the data opined that in order for more details in addition to the NDMA, SUPARCO must be invited in the next meeting. The Committee directed NDMA for more details regarding damages according to districts. The Committee was informed that a reconstruction plan has been chalked out in which provinces would have to contribute as well.

Senator Saadia Abbasi was of the view that since Pakistan is an Agrarian Economy special attention must be paid to the Agricultural losses incurred as this could lead to food insecurity in the country. Senator Shafiq Tareen raised the issue regarding the mismanagement in distribution of relief packages by the PDMA and Deputy Commissioners in Balochistan. He stressed that the process need to be transparent and unbiased. He also inquired the Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) criteria for cash transfers to flood victims. He raised concerns regarding all victims that are currently unregistered stressing the need for BISP to accommodate all.

These discussions were made during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning Development and Special Initiatives, which held today at Parliament House while Senator Atta ur Rehman was on chair.

Taking up the matter of losses of PSDP Projects during floods the Committee was informed that basically the role of MoPD&SI is to process the development schemes for approval of the competent for and the provision of funds through PSDP. The MoPD&SI also conducts monitoring of ongoing PSDP schemes.

The meeting was attended by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Saadia Abbasi, Senator Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhary, Senator Danesh Kumar, Senator Hidayat Ullah, Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, and senior officers from the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives, along with all concerned.

The meeting commenced with update of the financial and physical progress of DI Khan Airport. Other matters taken up include the reasons for delay in the completion of Soan Bridge project on GT Road, Rawalpindi and losses of PSDP Projects during floods.

While being briefed regarding the financial and physical progress of DI Khan Airport the Committee was informed that operations of the airport have remained suspended since 2014. The runway is currently in the state to cater to ATR flights, however, it was essential that the building be renovated. The Committee stressed the need for the airport to be made operational at the earliest and measure be taken to allow larger international flights. The Committee was informed that currently the airport can take partial load of Boeing Airbus and 77 Aircrafts as well. However, at the moment, due to massive flooding, no large flights can be accommodated by the airport.

Discussing completion of Soan Bridge project on GT Road, Rawalpindi the Committee was informed that delay was mainly due to the performance of the Contractor as a result of which the contract was terminated. FWO has been taken on board for completion of the project and have been summoned for details in the next meeting.

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