QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal has said that the provincial government’s relief and rescue operations had so far provided assistance to twenty to twenty-five thousand people affected by rain and snowfall but that a full-fledged relief operation would start once a damage assessment is carried out.
Speaking to the media during a visit to Lakhra on Sunday, the Balochistan chief minister said that, as a third spell of rain and snowfall had started in the province which had caused major damage in Killa Abdullah, Lasbela and Ziarat, the provincial government had directed all commissioners and deputy commissioners to compile damage assessment reports immediately so that a comprehensive relief operation could be launched across the province.
The chief minister inspected the flood damage in a helicopter and was accompanied during the visit by provincial ministers Zahoor Buledi and Zia Langove, former minister Prince Ahmed Ali, minority Member of Provincial Assembly Danesh Kumar and former Director General for the Environment Tariq Zehri.
Lasbela Deputy Commissioner Shabir Ahmed Mengal briefed the chief minister on the damage caused by flash floods and rains as well as the relief and rescue operations.
Chief Minister Jam Kamal claimed that his was the only coalition government in the history of Balochistan all of whose ministers were busy aiding the flood victims. Jam Kamal also said the government would build a flood channel and a dam along the Porali River in Lasbela.
Addressing a ‘khuli kachehri’, the chief minister said thousands of acres of agricultural land and hundreds of livestock had been lost to the flash floods but the provincial government was utilizing all available resources to provide complete relief to the people and was busy conducting relief operations on a war footing. He also pledged that new homes would be built for the people rendered homeless.
He expressed his relief that the heavy rains and snowfall had alleviated the drought in various provincial districts which, only months ago, had been declared drought-hit.
The chief minister also lauded the efforts of the Pakistan Army in assisting the provincial government in the relief and rescue operations and thanked the commissioners and deputy commissioners of the flood-affected areas for their presence among the flood victims.
Bar on land purchase
The government of Balochistan has prepared land security legislation which is expected to be approved by the provincial assembly in the upcoming session. The legislation would bar international entities, multinational companies and foreign individuals from purchasing land in Balochistan.
Addressing the closing ceremony of the six-day Book Festival in Gwadar on Sunday, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal stressed that Balochistan’s resources should be used for the betterment of its people.
Commenting on illicit land allotments in Balochistan, the chief minister said the current government had reopened all cases where hundreds of thousands of acres of land had been illegally grabbed. He also said he had decided to delegate provincial affairs to the district level which would be a major challenge for his government, adding that his administration wanted to provide 80% of all government facilities at the district level and that interviews and written tests were being conducted in districts and district committees had been empowered to fill vacant posts based on merit.
Speaking on the future of Gwadar, Chief Minister Jam Kamal said that the development of Gwadar would be beneficial for the local population and they would be able to elect their own representatives at the national and provincial levels who would work for the interests of the people of Gwadar.
He emphasized the port city’s rich culture which he said the provincial government had decided to highlight through various programs. Additionally, he said his government would build museums in Gwadar to preserve Balochistan’s heritage.
The chief minister further said he was pleased to see that the majority of the books at the Book Festival were in the Balochi language.
The chief minister also inaugurated the Balochistan Awami Party Secretariat in Gwadar.
CM meets Hasil Bizenjo
Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani met former president of the National Party, Senator Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, at his residence on Saturday.
He inquired about Mr Bizenjo’s health and prayed for his speedy recovery from illness. The two leaders also discussed matters related to the present political scenario.
Bizenjo was admitted to a private hospital last month and is currently under treatment.
Party sources said that Mr Bizenjo’s condition was improving with treatment, adding that he was continuing to perform his party responsibilities.