DERA GHAZI KHAN/ MULTAN:
Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif reprimanded Dera Ghazi Khan DCO Nadeemur Rehman on Thursday for the delay in reconstruction of an embankment and for not informing him about the gravity of the situation in the flood-hit DG Khan division.
He said those responsible for not preventing the breach of the flood protection embankment near Jhakar Imam Shah would be held accountable. “If I was told about this on time, I would have allocated additional funds to build spurs.”
Sharif arrived in the area on Thursday and visited Jhakkar Imam Shah dyke in the vicinity of Jhoke Utra police station, Rajanpur and Kot Mithan among other places.
He said Rs300 million had been allocated for the maintenance and repair of dykes in the DG Khan division. He asked Chief Secretary Khizar Hayat Gondal to submit a report on negligence of officials in handling the situation.
There is currently a low-level flood in River Indus at Taunsa Barrage. Nearly 100-feet portion of the dyke has been washed away.
Addressing the administrative staff, Sharif said five seminars had been held regarding floods in the past month. “Yet I was not told about the gravity of the situation.”
He directed Irrigation Department officials to stay at the dyke till the breach was repaired. He said those affected by the breach would be rehabilitated as they had been during the 2010 floods. “I will keep visiting this region till the last such person has been rehabilitated.” He said he had returned to the country as soon as he had heard about the embankment breach. “I keep my promises and I will not disappoint people in their time of need.”
Irrigation Secretary Saif Anjum gave the chief minister a briefing, saying 200 homes in five villages had been inundated because of the breach.
The embankment was constructed in 1973 to protect Jampur and surrounding villages. MNA Awais Ahmad Leghari said even though the chief minister had approved of the construction of a new embankment to protect Jhakkar Imam Shah, the work had not begun on it.
Sharif expressed his disquiet on the matter and said he would not let any negligent official get away with it. He also asked Home Minister Shuja Khanzada why he had not been told about the weak embankments during the five video conferences they had had while he was away.
Addressing flood victims, the chief minister said: “I postponed my medical check-up to be here with you in your time of need.”
Several victims complained about the district government and the Irrigation Department officials. They said the district government had only set up a tent city and medical relief camps the night before the chief minister’s visit just to show that they had been working. They requested Sharif to also ensure embankments near Rindawn , Chontereywala, Savera and Suhrani villages to protect them from floods.
Commenting on the judicial commission’s report on alleged rigging in the general elections, Sharif said: “Who will pay the people of Pakistan for the financial losses they incurred during Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s five-month long dharna at the state capital?” He said the PTI had wasted five months protesting against election rigging but now the truth was out. “The report is evidence that real democracy prevails.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2015.