MIRPURKHAS: The Mirpur­khas district administration has failed to take back from influential persons, landlords and political leaders more than 500 dewatering machines about Rs200 million worth to pump out stagnant floodwater from the widespread flood in 2011, according to sources.

The administration had bought the costly machines and distributed them among political leaders and influential landlords to help them drain out stagnant floodwater from their areas.

The Sindh government had made available huge funds for the purpose at that time. Additional deputy commissioner Mirpur­khas-I Muha­m­mad Usman Mehsud told Dawn that more than 500 small and large dewatering machines were purchased by the administration during the flood in 2011 and were distributed among influential landlords on the basis of their political affiliation.

The administration managed to take back most of the small machines, which were of no use to them, but could get back only 20 to 30 large machines from landlords in Sindhri taluka, he said.

Most of the large dewatering machines could not be retrieved as the officers were unable to use force to take possession of public property because of the landlords’ political clout, he said.

Still, some officers did try to recover the machines but the landlords refused to return them perhaps because the large machines were fit for stealing irrigation water from canals, he said.

He said that successive commissioners of Mirpur­khas division, including Ghulam Hussain Memon, Ghulam Mustafa Phull and Sajid Jamal Abro, had held meetings on the issue and taken decisions to get back the machines but the administration’s efforts were always frustrated by politically influential persons.

With the monsoon looming, the district direly needed the dewatering machines that could be used to pump out water from low-lying areas in the event of rainfall, said the sources.

Guddu Barrage Chief Engineer Irshad Ahmed Memon has appointed flood emergency officer, flood liaison officers and focal persons for flood emergency and set up flood control rooms in preparation for the imminent flood season, our Sukkur correspondent adds.

According to a handout issued here on Monday, XEN Shahnawaz Bhutto has been designated as flood emergency officer and AEN Sanaullah Abro as flood liaison officer.

Three XENs have been appointed as focal persons for flood emergency and flood control rooms have been set up at Regional Office Guddu Barrage with contact Nos 071-9310186, 0300-3130706, 0722-578683 and 0344-3122399, according to another handout.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2015

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