ISLAMABAD - Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat has expressed its dissatisfaction over the work progress on the project of new Balakot city and decided to visit the site itself after Eid.

The meeting was presided over by Senator Kalsooom Parveen.

Brig. Wajid, Acting Deputy Chairman Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA), briefed the meeting that 67 percent rehabilitation work has been completed in the areas affected by the 2005 earthquake and the rest is in progress.

He complained that ERRA is not being given the authority to work on new Balakot city project properly and uptill now only 14 percent of the land has been given under ERRA control.  In response to Senators queries about the reasons of these hurdles, he said that ERRA has repeatedly asked the prime minister and chief minister (KP) for help but no concrete steps have been taken yet. The committee was also given a detailed briefing by PDMA and federal flood commission (FFC) about the recent flood in Pakistan.

Chairperson of the committee Kalsoom Parveen said that the same was discussed in the previous meeting of the committee but the members were not satisfied by the report presented.

Meanwhile, Senator Rubina Khalid and Senator Najma Hameed proposed to the committee that a volunteer force needs to be prepared and trained in order to meet any natural disaster in the country. Chairman FFC Asghar Imtiaz told the committee that a national flood protection plan (2015-25) is under preparation and it will complete its work plan about structural and non-structural measures, flood plan mapping and zoning and automation of flood reporting system by 31.

Senator Kalsoom Parveen expressed her concerns on hiring NESPAK as consultant for the plan and asked for including more companies for the project. The committee was briefed that 2.15 million people were affected in the foods, 360 people died, 646 people got injured, 4046 villages damaged 214 million acres of crops affected, 55,644 houses damaged and 8957 cattle head perished.

The Senators were of the view that the committee was more concerned over what steps will be taken in future instead of what is being done.