Monday December 04, 2023

Minister orders depts to prepare flood control plan

By Our Correspondent
May 25, 2023

LAHORE:Caretaker Minister for Communications and Excise Punjab Bilal Afzal has instructed the Irrigation Department and other departments concerned, including the district administrations that the flood season starts from June 15, so both short and long-term plans should be prepared to deal with the flood besides keeping close liaison with Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA).

He was presiding over the meeting of Cabinet Committee on Disaster Management at Civil Secretariat Wednesday. Senior Member Board of Revenue Punjab, Nabeel Javed, PDMA DG Imran Qureshi, officers of Irrigation Department, Communications, other departments and Deputy Commissioners concerned gave briefings on the schemes to deal with possible floods due to river erosion.

Ten development schemes of different districts related to erosion were taken into consideration, with a total estimated cost of Rs1.190 billion. The briefing pointed out the districts likely to be affected by erosion included Gujrat, Jhang, Sargodha, Sheikhupura, Sahiwal and Hafizabad, many of whose villages had been identified as highly vulnerable to the river erosion which if occurred, human population, animals and agricultural lands could be affected.

The provincial minister postponed the final approval of the proposed schemes to the cabinet committee's next meeting based on some unexplained issues found in the briefing of all the departments.

Meanwhile, the Senior Member Board of Revenue directed the Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners concerned to visit the river erosion affected areas and review the plans of the proposed schemes themselves and submit a detailed report in the current context.

Meanwhile, Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Director General Imran Qureshi chaired a meeting at his office to discuss the pre-arrangements for the upcoming monsoon season and potential floods. The meeting was attended by Director (Coord) Tariq Mehmood Bukhari, Director (PDMA) Shayan Ali Java, Director (Ops) Nisar Ahmad Sani and others.

During the meeting, senior PDMA officers briefed about the arrangements and highlighted that 11 districts have been categorised as category (A) in anticipation of possible floods, while six districts have been designated as category (B), and 11 districts as category (C). Additionally, six districts have been identified as prone to urban flooding, whereas DG Khan and Rajanpur districts have been marked as sensitive due to the flood situation caused by hill torrents. Mock exercises are also being conducted in all districts to ensure preparedness.

He emphasised that all deputy commissioners must submit their contingency plans for the monsoon season and floods to the PDMA by the following week. This will enable the PDMA to issue the provincial contingency plan by June 15.

Moreover, the concerned officers were urged to conduct joint surveys of river embankments, ensure the re-assessment of machinery used for floods and urban flooding, and submit the relevant certificates to the PDMA. The DG emphasized the need for all districts to promptly submit their demands for machinery and essential goods to the PDMA so that the necessary supplies could be procured and delivered on time. The DG stated that the provincial control room at the PDMA will closely monitor all flood and monsoon-related situations.