KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a motion appreciating the relief and rehabilitation plan by the provincial government in the aftermath of the flood devastation.

The motion came after the three-day discussion on the flood situation concluded with some members telling horrible suffering of the flood victims.

As many as 43 lawmakers from the two sides of the aisle took part in the discussion on an adjournment motion regarding flood devastation in the province in a very thinly-attended house that passed a substantive motion, moved by the parliamentary affairs minister, unanimously praising the relief and rehabilitation efforts of the provincial government.

Hardly, a dozen members were in the house when Irrigation Minister Jam Khan Shoro gave the concluding statement mainly focusing on technical details and snags of irrigation system in historical prospective, which, he said, had contributed largely in devastation caused by rains and flash floods.

CM among 43 MPAs who took part in discussion; motion passed to appreciate govt’s relief efforts

As many as 21 members, including nine from opposition parties, were present when Agha Siraj Durrani began the proceeding with a delay of 45 minutes. Most of the lawmakers left the house immediately after speaking on the adjournment motion on their turns.

The discussion on the adjournment motion remained calm during the first two days. It turned noisy when Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s parliamentary party leader Khurram Sher Zaman delivered a fiery speech making utterances that were later expunged from the proceedings by the chair.

Speaking on the adjournment motion, Labour Minister Saeed Ghani gave the PTI parliamentary party leader an equally explosive rejoinder with careful selection of words against the PTI leadership.

Livestock and Fisheries Minister Abdul Bari Pitafi said that as many as 450,000 cattle were killed in the devastating floods, causing a damage of around Rs37bn.

He said that many fishing ponds had also been washed away causing Rs12bn losses.

Rebuilding of damaged schools termed biggest challenge Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah on Thursday told the provincial assembly that biggest challenge was rebuilding of around 20,000 schools damaged in floods as the international donors approached for the purpose had not given a positive response.

He said that the provincial government had only Rs15 billion for construction of damaged schools. “Only 2,000 schools can be built in this money,” he said and added that there was no other option, but to set up tents for over 2.3 million students of the affected schools.

He said that 37,000 tents were needed so that the education for the flood-affected children could be resumed.

Syed Abdur Rasheed, the lone MPA of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, said that during his nine-day visit to flooded areas he had found the entire province submerged. He said that instead of the provincial government, the NGOs were seen on the ground, providing relief to the people.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s parliamentary party leader Rana Ansar referred to statements of PPP lawmakers that PTI chairman Imran Khan did not actually visit the province during flood and said that the former prime minister had not offered condolence to her on the death of her husband along with 98 other passengers in the air crash, although her party was then coalition partner.

She said that the British-era irrigation system should be improved to minimise the losses of natural calamities.

She also suggested that the Benazir Income Support Programme should be expanded to flood-affected women.

Grand Democratic Alliance Abdur Razzaq Rahimoon said that Tharparkar was not affected that badly in the floods as were other districts. He said the overall situation in Tharparkar was good and the rains had brought prosperity in the area.

However, he said that every union council got Rs500,000 per month, but no funds were being spent for the betterment of the area as there was no check and balance on the expenditure.

He said that certain parts of Umerkot were still submerged and the authorities were doing nothing to drain out the stagnant water. He said that syringes were not available in the government health facilities, what to say of medicines.

MQM-P’s Sanjay Perwani, MPA from Mirpurkhas, said that the rainwater was still there in several villages. He said that 700,000 mosquito nets meant for flood-affected people were found dumped in a ginning mill and they were removed from there in four or five days.

PTI’s Ali Aziz said that the provincial government failed to provide relief to the flood victims and people were staging protests against the non-availability of relief goods.

He said that the relief goods donated by different countries were dumped in the warehouses of the ruling party members. “Such goods were also recovered in Karachi,” he added

PPP’s Ghazala Siyal said that every MPA belonging to the Pakistan Peoples Party was present in the flood-affected parts of the province. She said that the provincial government efficiently dealt with the flood situation providing relief to the affected people.

GDA Nand Kumar Golkani said that the inefficiency of the irrigation department led to severe devastation as nothing was done to improve the irrigation system in the province. He said that only six per cent flood-affected people were provided tents.

He appealed to the Supreme Court to take suo motu notice and form a commission to probe misappropriation in relief goods and flood funds.

PTI’s Adeeba Hassan said that the relief funds were released to the deputy commissioners, but the flood-affected people were not being given any assistance.

She said that she along with an NGO visited a flood-affected part of the province to find that the womenfolk did not have clothes to cover themselves.

MPA Nadim Siddiqui said that over 60pc roads and streets had already been in highly dilapidated condition prior to rains. “Now, almost 100 per roads in Hyderabad are in poor condition,” he said asking the provincial government to gear up efforts to restore the road network.

He said that the chief minister during his visit to Hyderabad had declared it calamity-hit city.

“Merely declaring the city calamity hit is not enough,” he said adding that concrete steps should have been taken to solve the problems caused by rains and floods.

The sitting was adjourned to Friday (today).

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2022

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