LAHORE: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has preferred Multan over Lahore because of India for the installation of a donated Rs 6.1 billion weather radar system, said reliable sources.

They said Pakistan authorities were strongly advocating for the installation of the system either in Lahore or Sialkot for timely monitoring of floodwaters flow from India towards Pakistan but JICA convinced them otherwise due to the bordering of both the cities with India.

According to the sources, the range of radar is 400 kilometers while distance of Lahore city from border is hardly 50 kilometers, therefore, JICA preferred Multan for its donation because of its long distance from the border.

The Pakistani authorities had informed them that the flood area is located in both the cities, and not Multan. However, JICA representatives remained adamant to install their donation in Multan, the sources added.

It may be noted that the existing radar system in the city of Lahore was installed in 1997 and when the authorities had contacted the US firm for spare parts, they were told that the company has abandoned manufacturing of the same since 2010. However, the one installed in Sialkot is yet in order due to the tactics of technical staff of meteorological department. It was installed back in 1985, said the sources.

They said the Pakistani authorities were expecting installation of radar in Lahore to reduce their dependency over India regarding prior information of floodwater released by India towards Pakistan. This radar could make it easy for Pakistani authorities to quantify rains in India, followed by flow of floodwater to Pakistan from India for a timely action.

They said India avoids sharing data about rains and the follow up floodwaters flows with Pakistan therefore they remain in dark until floods hit the border areas. A similar situation had arisen in last monsoon when 300,000 cusecs floodwater entered through Ganda Singh border from India and substantial loss to life and property was reported in the follow up.

As per the Indus Water Treaty, India is bound to inform Pakistan in case of high flood situation, which means inflow of 50,000 cusecs water towards Pakistan. But heavy encroachments in riverbed makes situation terrible with the arrival of even 30,000 cusecs water in River Ravi from India, which do not share information until the flow touches 50,000 cusecs, they added.

The sources said the World Bank has recently approved $50 million for Pakistan, which would be utilized for installation of a new weather radar system in Lahore in at least next three years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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