FOR the provinces to cast a negative vote on a proposal that could have helped remove the trust deficit in the government and markedly augment the amount of flood relief contributions, both from home and abroad, points to a highly debilitating malady: inability to see where the national interest lies. One should have thought that the crisis of multiple dimensions that has appeared in the form of the floods of a lifetime would leave the distrustful politicians with little option but to accept the proposal to constitute a commission consisting of persons of "impeccable character" for the use of flood relief funds. The Prime Minister, who spoke to journalists at Lahore on Saturday, said that even the Punjab Chief Minister kept quiet while the other provincial leaders refused to part with 30 percent of their development funds and transfer them to the proposed body. However, the PM revealed that the new body, National Oversight Disaster Management Council, envisages the nomination of two persons of integrity from each province and the Centre. It is hoped that the council would bear out the expectations that Mian Nawaz Sharif's idea carried. Mr Gilani discussed various other flood-related issues. Pointing to the report that areas, which are the PPP support base, were targeted, as embankments that could have saved them were breached, he warned that politics in such matters would not work for long. That the government has asked the FBR to assess whether there is a need for levying a flood tax, shows its imperviousness to the general public's misery caused by the high inflation rate. Should NODMC have persons with good repute who could be relied upon to deliver, one expects that a sizeable amount would be collected and the need for a flood tax would not arise. He claimed that so far only cheques of Rs 1.58 billion have been received in the fund instituted by him; contributions in kind were in addition. No one would dispute his point that the rehabilitation work would take quite a long time. But the beginning must be made now, and preventive measures for the future seriously considered. Kalabagh Dam, had it been constructed, would have absorbed 6.1 million acre feet of water, and lessened the intensity of the floods and the devastation they have caused. Mr Gilani's perception that it was not the right time to talk of KBD is absolutely misplaced. In fact, this is the time to make the dissidents realise their folly of opposing it. The past regimes might have done politics on this dam, as he said, but the present leadership should be addressing it with all good intentions.