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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to install flood forecasting stations on five major rivers across the province at the cost of Rs59 million to forewarn the residents of natural disasters and ensure better coordination among the relevant departments and agencies for rescue and relief operations.

The decision was made during a meeting of the relief, rehabilitation and settlement (RRS) department’s departmental development working party (DDWP) here on Thursday.

RRS secretary Abid Majeed chaired the meeting, which was attended by representatives of the finance and planning and development departments.

Officials say initiative will help prevent damage to public life, property

Minutes of the meeting said the participants discussed the finalisation of modalities for the early installation of automatic telemetry system to establish five flood forecasting stations in the province.

The project director of the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre said the initiative’s initial PC-I was made by the irrigation department at the cost of Rs59.328 million and was approved by the DDWP on April 9, 2018.

He said the flood warning system would be installed in Khawzakhela and Chakdarra on the River Swat, River Panjkora, River Kalpani, and Munda headworks.

The minutes said the project was meant to replace the existing manual gauges with the modern electronic gauges for quick reporting of water levels and speedy issuance of alarm signals for the early evacuation and safety of the residents.

They added that the system would be installed on two more sites afterward.

Officials of the finance and P&D departments said the approved project cost covered the two sites and therefore, they didn’t object to them.

They said the irrigation department had issued order for the supply of the equipment specified in the revised PC-I.

An official told Dawn that the project would help provide early information regarding rains and floods and real-time updates about water levels in rivers and watercourses to prevent damage to public life and property.

He said the flood forecasting stations would also help minimise communication gaps among the relevant government agencies at district and provincial levels.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2019