ISLAMABAD Flood Affectees have demanded the establishment of an independent investigation commission for the accountability of World Bank with regard to the design flaws in Taunsa Barrage Emergency Rehabilitation and Modernisation Project, which to them have caused and exacerbated massive unprecedented disaster in Seraiki Belt. The flood affecttees were observing three-day hunger strike in front of World Bank office on Wednesday and conducted a press conference here at National Press Club Islamabad under the banner of Sindho Bachao Taralla. While talking to the media persons, the flood victims demanded of the establishment of an independent investigation commission to ascertain the causes of the structural failure of Taunsa Barrage. They urged that the World Bank should cancel the payment of the project loan in order to allocate it entirely for flood recovery and reconstruction in Muzaffargarh District. Their urgent demand in this regard was the commitment to prepare the second resettlement plan for two hundred families displaced during the project, which according to them are now once again displaced due to the barrage failure. Fazal-e-Rab, the spokesman of Sindho Bachao Taralla, while showing great reservations regarding the inquiry of disaster have said, We dont have the trust on the continued judicial enquiry established in Punjab province on embankment breaches and other aspects of the Indus floods in Punjab Province. We believe the proceedings should be publicly open and official reports and data submitted to the judicial tribunal should not be kept secret. He has further said that as both the World Bank and ADB are steering the Flood Damages and Needs Assessment (FDNA) but we protest against the sheer lack of consultation with the flood-affected groups and their participation in this process. Fazal said, We demand that the Punjab government should immediately impose flood tax on urban properties and other sources of high income and wealth otherwise the flood-affected people of the Siraiki belt will consider it another example of discrimination and injustice of the rulers of Lahore if they fail to impose the flood tax on the wealthy regions and people of Punjab. Mehmood Nizami, a representative of Sindho Bachao Taralla, said that totalling $140 million was approved in 2005 to avert the risk of barrage failure and was completed in early 2010. These flood victims were of the opinion that the flood disaster in Muzaffargarh District had started with the breach in Abbasswala Bund. More than 2 million people were displaced and their crops, animals and homes were washed away and this breach was not natural as it is mostly portrayed in media talks and official statements. They were of the view that lack of the removal of cofferdams, which were constructed to manage flood flows temporarily to carry out repair and remodelling works in the active bed channel after the project completion contributed a lot in recent flood havoc. They also criticised the failure to undertake appropriate river training works, construction of secondary weir in the downstream of Taunsa Barrage, replacement of manual gate system with the motorized one operated through computer network from Lahore, etc Here it is relevant to mention that according to these flood victims Pakistan has been paying back loans and interest to the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs) for the faulty, inefficient, and, in many cases disastrous mega projects of development. The World Bank-funded Taunsa Barrage Emergency Rehabilitation and Modernization Project is one such faulty and disastrous project, which contributed and exacerbated the flood disaster in Muzaffargarh District.