Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Friday differed with suggestions from various quarters over the significance of dams in minimising the devastation caused by floodwater, saying the deluge in the province was too big to be tackled by dams alone.
Speaking to journalists after chairing a meeting in Hyderabad, the provincial chief executive asked those suggesting the construction of dams to explain how the 120 million-acre-feet of water in Sindh could be taken to Tarbela and Diamer-Bhasha Dams.
He also wondered if there was a location in the province where such a large quantum of water could be stored, adding that he was open to “all suggestions”.
“Some experts have also given their input, and one asked why I was drowning the people and said I should divert the water,” he said. “Please tell me how I can keep moving or diverting water like a vehicle.”
However, he added that he was open to suggestions from anyone that could help in dealing with the flood situation.
“Not only the army chief but many others have discussed the construction of dams [to store water],” he said.
Shah, who is a civil engineer by profession, said: “I have a question for those recommending constructing a dam: Sindh has received 120 MAF of water. Can anyone tell me how this water can be taken to Tarbela or Diamer-Bhasha?”
He went on to say that these were challenging times for the people of the province. “Right now, we need 1.5m tents for shelterless people in Sindh,” he said, adding that around 15m people had been displaced in the province.
He pointed out that the provincial administration was ready to procure more tents and ration bags, which he said, had been ordered through the Utility Store Corporation.
“We have given all government-related exemptions to procure ration bags with our quality control specifications,” he said.
He assured the journalists that the government was working on providing relief to the affected population. “If people are complaining to me about the lack of assistance, that means that I am going to them and have not left them in the lurch,” he argued.