QUETTA: The Senate Standing Committee on Water Resources has recommended for compensation a list containing 1,816 names of people affected and displaced by flooding exacerbated by the Mirani Dam, four years after it was compiled and approved by the quarters concerned for payment.
The committee meeting, chaired by Shamim Afridi, was informed that there were about four to five lists of the affected people, prepared since 2007 after Cyclone Yemyin hit the Balochistan coast on the night between June 26-27.
In the ensuing flooding, the rivers were unable to drain out the excess water as it was obstructed by the Mirani Dam, resulting in backflow in the Nihing and Kech rivers. The areas that suffered the most included union councils of Nasirabad, Nodiz, and Kosh Kalat.
According to a Red Cross report, the loss of houses in the two union councils was 100 per cent whereas the third one lost about 75 per cent of the houses. At least 200 people in the province died due to the flooding, that claimed more than 700 lives across the country while leaving around 350,000 displaced and over a million affected.
“All the lists have conflicting facts and figures about the number of affected people and damage claims, which is one of the problems in the disbursement of the compensation amount,” officials from the Balochistan province informed the body.
Upon this, the committee looked into the issue in detail and unanimously approved the list of 1,816 affected people, which was endorsed by the quarters concerned for the payment.
Following which, the committee was apprised that there was a binding condition placed by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec), which required third-party verification of damages before disbursement of the compensation.
Unfortunately, a third-party team had visited the affected areas in 2012 but could not find the ‘visible’ damages that took place including washing away of orchards, trees, and households as the flood had washed away everything, the officials said.
After deliberating on the possibility of relaxing the Ecnec condition of third-party involvement, the committee summoned the secretary of the Planning Commission in the next meeting to find a way forward and form a provincial level third-party for the compensation of payment.
Mirani Dam, a multi-billion rupee construction commissioned by Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda), designed by National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) and completed by Mirani Dam Joint Venture, a consortium led by Descon Engineering. The dam was built as part of Wapda’s Vision-2025, a programme launched during the tenure of Pervez Musharraf aimed to generate 16,000 MW of hydroelectricity, prevent water shortage, limit drought and increase water storage.
The committee also expressed concern over the continued absence of the chairman of the (Wapda) and Balochistan chief secretary from the meeting, issuing directives for both to appear in the next meeting.
The committee sought a detailed briefing on the issue in next meeting from WAPDA and the National Institute of Oceanography, covering the whole coastal belt in Sindh and Balochistan, besides surroundings of the main rivers.
Among others, the meeting was attended by Senators Shibli Faraz, Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Rana Maqbool, Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Walid Iqbal, Mushtaq Ahmed, Sassui Palijo and Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, besides senior officials from the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, Ministry of Finance, the Balochistan government, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and WAPDA.
(With additional input from APP.)