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New dams urged to check floods, store water

Construction of new dams is need of the hour as it will not only lessen the flood water destructions but also storage surplus water, which could be used both for energy generation and irrigation.

These views were expressed by discussants in Jang Economic Session on ‘Recent rains, floods and its impacts on economy”, held here. Those who participated in the session included: Punjab University IBA director professor Dr Ihsan Malik, Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister for Live Stock Hussain Qasuri, Four Brothers Group chairman Javed Quraishi, Agri Forum chairman Ibrahim Mughal, Farmers Associates Pakistan director Abad ur Rehman Khan and Dr Asif Mahmood Bajwa. The event was hosted by Sikandar Hameed Lodhi and Intikhab Tariq.

Dr Ihsan Malik said that it rained almost daily in the developed countries but floods did not occur there because of dams. The dams, he added, not only protected the countries but also provided them with cheap electricity through which they ran their industries smoothly. He said it was disappointing that Pakistan was an agricultural country but was importing agro-based items from Saudi Arabia due to Pakistan’s failure in handling floods.

Khadim Hussain Qasuri said the Punjab chief minister had taken keen interest in reconstruction and rebuilding of the flood-hit areas by helping those flood-affected poor people. He said the Punjab government would establish health clinics in the flood-hit areas and would also announce relief package for the farmers.

Javed Quraishi said that recent floods had caused more damages to DG Khan and Rajinpur districts as compare to the damage by floods of 2010. He said both of the major political parties were involved in petty politics as elections were around the corner but they had not paid heed to helping the flood-affected people.

Ibrahim Mughal said the recent rains had proved very beneficial for the crops, rather than causing the crops damage. The rains were worth seven billion rupees to Rs 10 billion which were required to fulfill the water needs. He said shortage of storage capacity was the key behind floods in the country. He said that, due to the wrong information disseminated by meteorological department, farmers had not got much time to prepare them for the recent rains which had later turned into floods. He said cotton crop was expected to be cultivated on eight million acres but, due to heavy rains, it could be cultivated only on 72 million acres.

Abad ur Rehman said cotton crop was the most affected crop in recent floods, asking the government to take action in tackling corruption of the irrigation department.

Dr Asif Mehmood Bajwa said that, due to flood, thousands of people were forced to live in the open air and there was no government which could address their miseries. He said many diseases had been reported in flood-hit areas such as gastro and there was also a danger of spreading of typhoid there.

He said around two hundred thousand people had suffered due to recent floods in Rajinpur alone. He underlined the need to pay more attention and allocate more funds to help flood-affected people.

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