Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman on Friday said the abnormal monsoon torrential rains caused the heaviest floods in the country’s history that submerged many parts of the southern region.
She was addressing the meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Climate Change held under the chair of MNA Nuzhat Pathan.
Sherry said the situation was bad as rains ha not been taking any breaks with up to 1,100 millimeters rains in many flood-hit areas, adding, “30 districts of Sindh have been submerged and this committee should take notice of that.”
The minister underlined that it was a natural disaster but the mother nature was brought to this level after unbridled anthropogenic activities.
She mentioned that the communication link with Balochistan had also ended, adding, “Our helicopters are reaching the affected areas but they are coming back due to unfavourable weather conditions.”
There were many people still trapped in the affected areas and the government had no idea about where to draw the accumulated water, Sherry Rehman said.
Secretary Ministry of Climate Change Asif Haider Shah also briefed the committee on the mandate of the ministry in the prevailing scenario and presented his suggestions to the forum.
MNA Murtaza Javed Abbasi raised the issue of crushing plants installed at the Margalla Hills National Park and Khanpur Dam areas.
Inspector General of Forest, Ministry of Climate Change Ghulam Qadir Shah told the committee that there were 31 crush plants functional as of now in the region and 11 of them were registered and the rest were illegal.
“We have closed down several crush plants and cases of five crushing plants are also under trial in the Supreme Court.”
He underscored that Afghan mafia was behind the ordeal. “We raised our voice at the assembly as young children are suffering 30% hearing loss and the people have been protesting against the plants for the past two years. Due to these rains, the crushing waste is going into Khanpur Dam,” he added.
The Afghans were allowed by the provincial government and they belonged to an influential mafia whereas the crushing plants were stopped for 30 days at the behest of the Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chairperson Committee said the people were getting sick from these crushing plants and many diseases, including eye cancer were occurring among the masses of the locality.
The chairperson summoned the KP Chief Secretary and directed that the next meeting would be held in the same area and also called the Ministry of Water Resources to participate in the meeting