The 14-member committee formed by the Punjab government to assess the damage caused by the heavy rainfall in Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan (DG Khan) divisions will conduct its first meeting on Saturday (today).
The committee was constituted a few days ago to assess the losses in human lives, properties and crops and suggest adequate measures by the government in terms of exemption from land revenue, compensation to small farmers (below two acres land holding) and measures for prevention of diseases (human and livestock), a notification issued on Friday said.
It said the committee has been instructed to prepare a report on the damages and recommendations to minimise damages in case of floods in the next season. The report will be sent to the chief minister in a week.
The notification mentioned that all committee members had already visited the flood-hit areas and had overviewed the situation there.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah is the convener of the committee. Its members include Minister for Agriculture Ahmed Ali Aulakh, MPA from Rajanpur Sher Ali Gorchani, MPA Atif Hussain Mazari, MPA Chaudhry Muhammad Shafiq, the Planning and Development Board chairman, a Board of Revenue senior member, Bahawalpur and DG Khan commissioners and the finance, health, livestock, irrigation, and agriculture secretaries.
Speaking to The Express Tribune Gorchani said, “The committee has a mandate to give recommendations to chief minister to take necessary steps so that damage caused due to hill torrents and heavy rains could be limited.”
He said that floodwater had never entered DG Khan in the recent history. This year, he said, the city had been inundated with water from the Kachhi Canal leak breach.
He said water from hill torrents came to the canal with utmost speed. At some points, he said, the water breached the dykes and entered the city.
“Our ancestors had made channels on hills to regulate the storm water flow. For the last 15 years, the governments have paid no heed to maintaining these channels,” he said.
This year, Gorchani said, heavy rain had taken peak discharge to 100,000 cusecs. He said some of the land needed for flood control works had been encroached upon by land grabbers. This, he said, had made the situation worse.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2012.