Lahore
Background
Pakistan has been encountered with heavy floods several times since independence inflicting colossal damage to national economy, loss of human lives, cattle, houses collapse & damage to crops. Hameed Nizami Press Institute of Pakistan in collaboration Engineers Study Forum, a registered think tank of Engineers, organized an Experts Conference on Prevention & Control of Floods at Lahore on January 29, 2015. The conference was addressed by experts & engineers including Dr Mansoor Ahmed Hashmi Vice President, Water Resource Division of NESPAK, former chairman IRSA, Shafqat Mahmood, Mian Fazal Ahmad, president Engineers Study Forum & Others. Elaborate discussions on the subject were held. Absar Abdul Ali, Director Press Institute also addressed the participants of the conference . The following recommendations emerged after the deliberations of the conference to prevent future floods & to mitigate colossal damage as mentioned above especially before the coming summer in 2015. Short term possible measures need to be taken on a fast track basis.
Recommendations:
Master plan
1. A master plan to prevent & control floods prevention must be finalized and approved on a fast track basis with clear targets & milestones of implementation at the highest levels by federal & provincial governments. NESPAK has reportedly done lot of spade work in this regard like their plan IV (NFPP -IV) which can form basis of the master plan. The approved plan must cover, interalia the following short & long term measures with effective implementation mechanism. Delays in approval of the plan may continue to inflict the heavy damage of floods to national economy, loss of lives, property, crops & the cattle. Although flood waters do provide some beneficial effects if channelized properly ensuring minimum damage on the flood water flow routes, however floods damage & losses are manifold & very high. International donors’ assistance can be easily available for the plan implementation.
Role of large dams
2. Experts & the participants of the conference were unanimous on the construction of large dams the soonest which not only substantially mitigate adverse flood effects but also provide cheaper electricity & bring about an agricultural revolution in the country. They also boost water resources of the country which are already on the decline as warned by international agencies also. In this connection, the Kalabagh Dam project which has been delayed due to political vested interests unduly by raising fake controversies is very vital. Political consensus can be developed for this project if backed by a strong political will. Many options are available to satisfy all stakeholders in the Kalabagh Dam project. Funding for large hydro power projects can be raised by establishing a public limited company by the government with private sector participation. Pakistanis will happily buy shares of such a corporate set up. This can provide adequate funds for a project like Kalabagh Dam.
i Press Institute of Pakistan.