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ISLAMABAD: Federal Secretary for Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Syed Zafar Ali Shah said that his ministry is preparing reassessment plan of Rs 1 trillion for flood-hit areas with contributions from the provincial governments.

He said that $ 300 million of the World Bank for developments is being diverted for relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected people.

The secretary told this to Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives met with Senator Atta ur Rehman in the chair at the Parliament House on Friday. The meeting was attended by Senators, Nuzhat Sadiq, Saadia Abbasi, Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhary, Danesh Kumar, Hidayat Ullah and Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, and senior officers from the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, along with all concerned.

The secretary planning said that the provinces would also give share in Rs 1 trillion reassessment programme as many roads and infrastructure which have been damaged belong to the provinces. “For this purpose, we will also get loans from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB),” he said.

According to the documents of preliminary damage assessment which were presented in the meeting, a total of 197.265 km length of highway/motorway across Pakistan has been affected due to massive flood. A total of 92.63 km road network in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), 54.25 km in Balochistan, 36.285 km in Sindh, and 14.1 km roads in Punjab have been affected.

About water sector projects, a total of 710 structures across Pakistan had been damaged included 355 structures in Sindh, 178 in KP, 167 in Balochistan, and 10 in KP merged areas. The major projects which were affected are; Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project, Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Kachi Canal, Chashma Right Bank Canal, construction of 200 dams in Killa Abdullah (Balochistan), construction of 100 small dams in Killa Abdullah (Balochistan), Sherjan Khudda Dam, Loralai (Balochistan), construction of small storage dams and ISSO barriers (Sindh) and Makhi Farash Link Canal (Sindh) etc.

About railways infrastructure, a total of 59.17 km railway lines across the country have been blocked. 1 km structures of ML-1 railway, 25 km of ML-2 and 33.17 km of ML-3 have been damage.

According to other documents, a total of 1.173 million houses including 436,307 houses completely and 736,242 partially damaged, while 733,488 livestock were affected across the country.

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 the PSDP projects during floods.

While being briefed regarding the financial and physical progress of DI Khan Airport, the committee was informed that 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.

The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) provided details to the committee of the losses incurred by floods over various regions including the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The committee while reviewing the data opined that in order for more details in addition to the NDMA, SUPARCO must be invited to the next meeting. The committee directed the NDMA for more details regarding damages according to districts.

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 Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) and deputy commissioners in Balochistan. He stressed that the process need to be transparent and unbiased.

He also inquired the Benazir Income Support Programme (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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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