ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed federal and provincial governments to implement the recommendations of the Flood Inquiry Commission in letter and spirit. According to the commissions report, encroachments made by the influential people contributed to obstructions in the flow of water, resulting in flooding of many areas. The court ordered the concerned provincial chief secretaries to ensure strict action against the people the Inquiry Commission held responsible for negligence and submit its report to the Supreme Court Registrar within 15 days. The court ruled that the provincial chief secretaries were bound to submit their reports about the actions they took against the responsible people while implementing the Inquiry Commissions recommendations. A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Amir Hani Muslim also directed publicising the text of the Flood Inquiry Commissions recommendations in national and regional languages. During the hearing, the Chief Justice observed that the government was constitutionally bound to protect the lives and property of the people. The court lauded the efforts of the Inquiry Commission and positive role of the media. Later the court disposed off the matter. The Flood Inquiry Commission formed on the orders of the Supreme Court had submitted its final 200-page report in the Supreme Court on June 6, 2011, revealing that the negligence of Irrigation Departments of Sindh and Balochistan. The report noted that 1,600 people lost their lives and thousands were injured in the last years floods. There was a colossal loss of Rs 855 billion to the national economy. Almost 4.5 million people lost their jobs, mostly in the farm sector and the Rabi crop for 2010-11 was badly damaged. Some 20 million people became IDPs (Internationally Displaced Persons) and 7 million students had their academic session interrupted, according to the report. The report took up the issue of availability of the Jacobabad airport for flood relief operations and confirmed presence there of a sizeable number of foreign personnel for some time, which created a perception of its inaccessibility for relief goods. But the foreign nationals were reportedly employed to train and assist Pakistan Air Force (PAF) staff for upgrading facilities before arrival of a new batch of F-16 planes, the report noted. Most embankments in the country, the report deplored, were not maintained as required and specified in SOPs (standard operating procedures). Most breaches indicated serious organisational and managerial issues impinging upon professionals apathy, besides being an indicator of widespread corrupt practices in the hierarchy. The 2010 floods, the report said, fully exposed illegal encroachments which had been allowed to go unchecked by the authorities concerned due to negligence, corruption and poor management resulting in massive losses to life and property. Unfortunately, the report said, the local and provincial governments themselves indulged in encouraging illegal acts promoting encroachments. Referring to the proposed Munda Dam project, 6-kilometre upstream Munda Headworks, the report noted had the dam been constructed, there would have been minimal damage downstream Charsadda, Peshawar and Nowshera districts and Munda Headworks. On early flood warning system, the report deplored that the current facilities are of a limited nature because the Meteorology Department has a system to forecast for barely 3 to 4 days. Due to limited technical capacity, Pakistan is lagging far behind developed countries as there are only seven weather radars in the country. There is no coverage in the northwest and Balochistan and the coastal belt of 960 kilometres. Although Pakistan is a member of the World Meteorology Organisation, it is not accessing information from it. Nor is it taking full advantage of information available with it. The Supreme Court may wish to advise the government to expand radar coverage to the whole country and establish a coordinating mechanism with WMO and the SAARC countries for accessing/sharing information on early weather warning. The report noted that despite glaring cases of inadequate attention in many areas, the magnitude and scale of the disaster and the speed with which it unfolded in the first phase during July 27 to August 12, the overall rescue and relief operations at all levels and public responses constituted an impressive chapter of managerial history.