Shahbaz’s directive to tackle possible floods

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has directed that all the concerned federal and provincial departments should remain fully vigilant and alert in wake of any possible floods and they should also maintain close and continuous liaison with each other; adding that they should be fully prepared to cope with any emergent situation.
He said, necessary machinery and other equipment should be fully functional and flood emergency control room set up at the level of provincial, divisional and district should work 24 hours a day. He made it clear that he would not tolerate any leniency in arrangements for disposal of water after rains from urban areas.
While giving approval to increase in financial aid to the heirs of persons died in different torrential rains related accidents, the Chief Minister said that amount of financial assistance has been increase from five lakh rupees to eight lakh rupees for the heirs of the bereaved families.
Meanwhile, financial aid has also been increased for the injured, he added. The Chief Minister put his helicopter at the disposal of Provincial Cabinet Committee for Floods and said that members of the committee could use this helicopter for field visits and as and when the Cabinet Committee would require it, the helicopter would be provided on priority basis.
The Chief Minister said that water situation in rivers should be monitored 24 hours. The Metrological Department should avoid ifs and buts and rather provide authenticated weather information by using latest technology. He expressed displeasure over non-procurement of latest radar on time for the Meteorological Department and said that non-implementation of decisions, despite clear-cut instructions, is highly deplorable and added that strict action will be taken against the responsible persons for the delay. He directed to hold third-party audit of de-watering sets and other essential machinery items and said that ample stock of anti-venom vaccine and water purifying tablets should be available. The Health Department should keep active first-aid teams and stock of essential medicines should also be kept. Similarly, advance arrangements for vaccination of animals and their fodder should be completed.
He said that Provincial Ministers and Secretaries would supervise the arrangements made to deal with possible floods. Provincial Ministers and Secretaries would be deputed to play their role in this regard. The flow of water in rainy nullahs in Sialkot should be monitored 24 hours.
The Chief Minister further directed the flow of water of hill-torrents in Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur should also be continuously monitored. He also ordered to remove encroachments around Nullah Lai and other nullahs.
He said that Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners should visit embankments and spurs and Provincial Departments should be fully prepared to deal with the challenge of possible floods as formalities won’t be tolerated and third-party audit of pre-arrangements would be held along-with on-spot checking of certificates of third-party audit.
The Chief Minister directed that Provincial Ministers for Irrigation and Communication & Works and concerned Secretaries should inspect safety arrangements by paying surprise visits.

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