CM Sindh urges British, Netherlands’ experts to assist in ‘reclamation’ of flooded lands

KARACHI, Sep 20 (APP): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his meeting with British High Commissioner Dr. Christian Tuesday on Tuesday said that the reclamation (the cultivation of waste land or land formerly under water) of flooded lands would need expert guidance and technical support from the British and Netherlands so that they could be rejuvenated.

The meeting was held at CM House and was attended by Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney, Director Development Sandra Baldwin and Deputy Director Batool Zehra.

The chief minister was assisted by his special assistant Syed Qasim Naveed, Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput and Secretary to CM Raheem Shaikh.

Mr Shah said that if the agricultural lands were underwater, they would lose their fertility. “I want a study from the British and Netherlands experts to visit these lands, study them and guide us technically so that they can be reclaimed with more rejuvenation,” he said.

At this, the British High Commissioner assured the chief minister that his government would support the Sindh government over this matter.

The British High Commissioner said that he and chief secretary Sindh would coordinate together and would Netherlands’ experts in this regard to work out on the action plan.

The CM said that the climate change and current heavy rains call for preparing a future plan to construct a proper drainage system for rain and hill torrents deluges.

“We are planning to restore original and natural waterways and escapes all over Sindh,” he said, and added his government would also need expert and technical support from the British government and donor agencies.

At the outset of the meeting, the British High Commissioner offered his condolences over the loss of lives during the heavy rains.

He said that the British government would support the provincial government to rehabilitate the affected people.

The chief minister briefed the visiting diplomat about the devastations of the heavy rains and hill torrents on both embankments of the River Indus. He said that the hill torrents of the Khirthar Range had no escape other than ending at Manchhar Lake.

“The six feet high Flood Protective Bund failed to contain hill torrents and they caused multiple breaches into it, therefore, various cities and towns inundated. Similarly, the LBOD and the spinal drains could not carry the quantum of rainfall smoothly into Shakoor Lake or the sea. We will have to restore old water escapes/doras on the left bank also,” the CM said.

Mr. Shah told the British envoy that more than 1.5 million people had been displaced, therefore there was a dire need of tents to accommodate the homeless people.

At this, the British high commissioner said that their government was sending fifty containers loaded with non-food items such as tent-type shelters, plastic sheets, and other materials.