LAHORE - Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif presided over a meeting on Tuesday which gave approval to important measures for the improvement of flood management system in the province.

The meeting also decided to set up a risk management unit in the Irrigation Department besides approval was given to handover the control of pond areas of Punjab to the Irrigation Department.

Addressing the meeting, the chief minister directed that necessary protective measures be completed at any cost before the monsoon season while regulatory and administrative steps be also finalised. He said that short-term measures should be adopted immediately for improvement of flood management system. He said that strengthening of protective spurs and embankments should be ensured in time.

He said that illegal constructions on the riverbeds be curbed. He said that early warning system about possible flood is of vital importance and modern radar should immediately be arranged for this purpose.

The chief minister directed that rehabilitation and improvement work of barrages be completed expeditiously. He said that barrages are important structures and competent officers be deputed at these places. He issued instructions for evolving irrigation manual on modern lines and said that approved short term measures be immediately implemented.

He directed concerned departments and institutions to work speedily and in a coordinated manner. He said that immediate measures should be adopted for the improvement of irrigation installations. He directed that all pond areas of Punjab be taken from other departments and handed over to Irrigation Department.

Shahbaz Sharif said that Irrigation Department should arrange third-party audit of all the measures. He said that there was a need for capacity-building of bridges and barrages and effective measures should be taken for this purpose. He said that repair and construction work of entire infrastructure be completed transparently while a high standard should also be maintained and third-party audit policy be strictly followed in this regard.

The chief minister said that funds should be spent honestly on flood management system. He said that there was a need for emergent measures for the capacity-building of Irrigation Department. He issued instructions for setting up of a special committee with regard to mid and long term measures for flood management plan and directed that the committee should submit its final recommendations within 14 days.