ISLAMABAD, Jul 4 (APP):Minister for Water Resources, Syed Ali Zafar Wednesday said all associated government departments must be watchful and increase coordination to disseminate real time information during upcoming raining season.
He was chairing 53rd annual meeting of Federal Flood Commission to review arrangements made by the provinces and federal line agencies for safe passage of monsoon season 2018.
Secretary Water Resources, Chief Engineering Advisor/Chairman, Federal Flood Commission and senior officers of concerned federal as well as provincial government organizations participated in the meeting.
The minister highlighted the seasonal outlook, issued by PMD for monsoon season 2018 and said according to PMD, normal to slightly above normal rainfall were expected during the first half of monsoon season and below normal rainfall in second half of monsoon season 2018.
He shared the pre-monsoon season actions taken by FFC for smooth passage of flood flows during monsoon season 2018.
All the stakeholders briefed the meeting regarding preemptive measures taken to minimize effects of flood damages in the event of occurrence of floods.
The preparedness of NDMA and PDMAs/GBDMA/FDMA/SDMA was also discussed in detail.
The minister directed them to remain vigilant throughout the monsoon season and further improve upon the already made arrangements.
The representative of Engineers Directorate, GHQ Rawalpindi informed that they were ready and vigilant for operating breaching sections in case of emergency situation, besides, rescue operations in case of very high/exceptionally high floods.
The dam management authorities of Tarbela & Mangla Dam projects shared the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of Mangla and Tarbela dams and arrangements made for flood flows a regulation in case of high flood flows during monsoon season 2018.
Chief Engineer (H&WM), WAPDA informed that all existing Flood Telemetry Station were fully operational and transmitting data to concerned stakeholders.
The PMD presented the seasonal forecast for 2018 monsoon season. The minister instructed PMD to improve their weather forecast to give ample time to deal with any emergency situation.
In view of forecast of rains and expected urban flooding, provinces were asked to be vigilant and clear the storm drains in all major and other cities.
He asked the relevant authorities to remove the encroachments, which restricting free flood flows of rivers and may result in floods. Additionally, desilting and removal of encroachments of nullahs passing through urban areas like Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi, Hyderabad, Rawalpindi, Multan, Sialkot, Lahore and Faisalabad etc. was stressed.
The minister was told that around Rs 400 million released by the federal government during the previous years to government of Punjab for execution of urgent nature flood projects were kept unspent and no project regarding flood control was completed despite availability of funds.
Similarly, the representative of irrigation department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa informed that due to delay in release of funds by the federal government, they could not utilize the budget before close of previous financial year (30th June 2018).
The representatives of irrigation department, government of Sindh and Federally Administered Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA and AJ&K) highlighted that they were getting very meager budget under PSDP through Normal/Emergent Flood Programme, hence, they were unable to complete the urgent nature flood works last year. They requested to enhance their budget share in the said programme.
The minister showed dissatisfaction over delay in completion of some urgent flood protection projects being executed through Public Sector Development Programme.
He directed the representatives of provinces and FATA to make utmost efforts in completion of under-construction works so as to make them safe against 2018-floods and ensure protection of adjoining settlements, private and public property.
He showed serious concerns over the inordinate delay in preparation/approval of PC-I “Enhancing Capacity of Shahdara Railway Bridge & old road bridge project on River Ravi” and advised to take up the matter seriously, process the PC-I on fast track basis for early approval and implementation.