QUETTA: As deadly flash floods and torrential rains continue to ravage many parts of Balochistan, with no rail and road link between Quetta and rest of the country despite all-out efforts for past several days, the provincial government called upon the Centre to provide a special package of Rs60 billion for repair of infrastructure and rehabilitation of flood-hit families.

Officials put the death toll across the province at 205 after floodwaters swept away five people near Saranan area of Pishin district on Tuesday evening and the body of a five-year-old girl was recovered from Syed Hameed river in Saranan area. The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) did not release the death toll till late on Wednesday night.

The railway track connecting Balochistan with other provinces has been submerged by floodwater for past several days, causing suspension of passenger and goods train services, while railway officials believed the restoration would take some more days.

Road, rail links between Quetta and rest of country suspended for days amid heavy rains; Centre urged to provide Rs60bn package

Railway officials said no train could leave for Karachi, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from Quetta for the past three days. “All coming and outgoing trains have not left for their destination,” an official said, adding that engineers and other staff of Pakistan Railways would check the track once floodwater receded and the train service would resume between Quetta and the rest of the country after their clearance. “Rail service restoration would take some more days,” the official said.

“Around 5km of the main railway line is still under water,” a senior official of the local administration told Dawn, adding that the road traffic was facing the same situation.

Meanwhile, the Balochistan government sent a resolution adopted by the provincial assembly recently to Islamabad. “Balochistan, having meagre resources, is not able to rehabilitate the destroyed areas and compensate the people who suffered huge financial losses,” the resolution stated.

It asked the provincial government to approach the federal government for a special package of at least Rs50bn to Rs60bn for the rehabilitation of 32 destroyed districts and waive off all utility bills and agriculture loans in the districts that had been declared calamity-hit areas.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2022

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