Oct 9, 2012

Dams construction in Sindh & Baluchistan is the need of the day

Party & Politics is the main barrier to build Dam in Pakistan
A report on private TV channel that India constructs Dams on Pakistani water whereas in Pakistan the Dam-construction goes politicized, it refers ‘Kalabagh Dam’ in Sind & ‘Bacha Dam’ in Baluchistan which could not move further because of serious protest & rallies against the project across the province.
The reason behind the suspension of the project is the only politics hurdle that always has been a political intrigue.   

We are well aware that very substantial loss is occurred every year due to heavy floods caused by torrential rains of Monsoon. Billions of amounts of properties, lands and crops are destroyed, thousands of lives and cattle are perished and thousands of people go homeless.

But what we do - except lip service - no concrete policy and decisions are taken that how to curb and control the Flood which eats everyone - widespread-rains & thunder-showers vulnerable low lying areas in Sind, Baluchistan, Punjab, Khyber Paktoonkhawa, Kashmir & Gilgit-Biltistan.

No doubt our political leaders visits the area, different organization, NGO’s, human rights agency at national and international levels goes activated, federal and provincial govt. institution wakes up, start dispatching food, medicines, tents and other necessary items to save flood victims. Relief funds and cheques are also distributed but as soon as the day passes everything goes normal and people forget that the country had encountered with remarkable loss.

No consensus (so far) for a concrete solution that how to handle the persistent Floods the heavy rains of Monsoon which inundates & cripples 1/3 area of the country.

The controversial status of Kalabagh dam, Basha dam and other dams in Indus, Swat and Panjkora rivers are still in abeyance. Why don’t we understand that the dam construction will mitigate the loads-shedding issue which has been a curse for the entire nation?

There is constant power shortage; almost provinces are getting load-shedding for 12-15 hours daily, the power generating deficiency overall amounts up to 12000 MGW. Besides, there is water shortage as ell for agriculture perspective which can be supported if reservoir is constructed.
It means that in the eyes of our leader “The Dam construction is taken as a damn” thing which has no value and unrealistic.

However the controversial attitude at provincial level people believes that role of politicians should be supportive and they should lead the province as a crusader with the motive to get rid of masses from irrelevant suspicion and false believes about dam construction.
They should take masses in confidence and give them a positive & optimistic outlook for the development plan (to build the Dam) instead to mislead and give them a thorny, darkened & gloomy picture. As per impression of a senior citizen (in interior Sind) who quoted that generally our political pundit paints a negative picture about the dam that if it is constructed;

(a)  you will be deprived of your basic right

(b)  your water will be used by others

(c)  you will encounter with severe drought

(d)  you will arrive at the brink of starvation

(e)  your facility and land will be encroached by others

(f)   you and your children will die and from

(g)  your water other will enjoy &

(h)  You cannot cultivate your land etc.
Therefore the leaders need to remove the mindset of the people, the strange and mysterious feelings & obscene image about the dam construction to be turned down.

The idea that why the dam is being constructed – what impacts will it bring & support the inhabitants in terms of their lives, basic needs of the people, economic activity will grow & more room for employment, infrastructure development, induction of advance irrigation facility, more area can come into cultivation, a concrete safety measures to enforce flood deterrent where every year hundred thousands of lives goes dead & hundred thousands of people & cattle are marooned. In short lives and property are completely wiped out in the wake of monsoon rains.
People should know that there are no pre-disaster preparation, a disaster recovery plan indeed required to save the people which is only possible when the dam is built in your area such clarification and convincing speech if delivers then there will be no obstacle to go ahead & start dam building said by the group of people who lost their homes in the current floods.

It is the only leader who first misguided & miss-fed people’s while visiting during election campaign in order to earn vote they did not want to lose the vote bank that’s why they avoided turning down wrong impression about dam.
Of course it’s not an honest and favorable decision in favor of people welfare however for the betterment and advancement of masses political leader will have to come out with positive approach to get the people agreed for not to protest further. It’s a chronic national issue and needs to be resolved amicably with clear vision and mission.

Dam’s construction is meant to control the flow of water in a river, improves navigation, regulates flooding & produces hydroelectric power
One reason is to prevent flooding
Heavy rains are caused water levels in a river to rise - As the river flows downhill, it may overflow its banks, flooding communities located downstream. A dam can prevent this by stopping or slowing rushing water, allowing it to be released at a normal rate.

Dams are built to store water for general use and farming
When a river's flow is restricted by a dam, water often spreads out behind the dam to form a lake or reservoir in the river valley. That water can then be used as needed, preventing water shortages and crop damage during long periods of dry weather. Dams provide clean, pollution free energy

Dams are used to produce electricity
Hydroelectric power is produced as water passes through a dam and into a river below. The more water that passes through a dam, the more energy is produced.

Once a dam is built, an artificial man-made lake is created behind the dam. Electricity is produced by a device called a turbine. Turbines contain metal coils surrounded by magnets. When the magnets spin over the metal coils, electricity is produced. Turbines are located inside dams. The falling water spins the magnets.

Crops irrigation by farmers
Dams are built so that farmers may have water to irrigate their crops, or to provide a source of water for a village or town.

Press Report 23rd Sep 2012
Sind Flood status

This year 2012 if we read the current flood vulnerability, apart from rural areas, flood water inundated urban areas in six major districts of Sindh. District like Jacobabad, Kashmore, Kandkhkot, Shikarpur, Sukkur, Khairpur and Sukkur were hit badly by floods.

Their urban centers had waist-high rainwater, people were wading through it and there were lack of logistic and food compounded the miseries of the rain hit people in the districts.

And as per Sind Rehabilitation Minister Haji Muzaffar Shujra, Sindh’s six districts received ‘record rain-fall’ and this is something nobody can stop “We are now able to dewater 95% areas in those districts” he said and conceded that Jacobabad as the worst hit district.

We suffered badly due to heavy flow of water from Baluchistan, that’s why we have requested the President to direct the Baluchistan govt. to put some system in place in their  own area to avoid problems said Mr. Shujra.

Sind has been hit by three successive disasters since 2010. It was worst flood in 2010 then heavy monsoon in 2011 mainly in districts located on the left bank of the river Indus and now heavy rains in upper Sindh’s districts located on the right bank of the Indus.

Mr. Shujra further stated that threat of climate change is looming large over the region therefore new approach is needed. “The coordination among all the departments to be ensured essentially for an effective response to disaster and pre disaster arrangement to be put in place he contended.

At least 200 villages have been inundated when a breach in the ‘Garhi Hassan canal in Thull Taluka of Jacobabad’ district widened by around 150 feet.

Irrigation department official said the breach had occurred because rainwater from drains of Baluchistan had been released into the canal.

Here we can see that in his entire conversation with the floods victim, (in the presence of press reporter) Mr. Shujra, (Sind Rehabilitation Minster) did not mention categorically that “Dam building” is the only solution to control floods-water for the safety of lives and property of the people, urging only that he will ask President to speak Baluchistan govt. to put some system in place to control his water. 

Are we really serious to build the Dam in Pakistan or one province shifting responsibility to other province?

Press report 23rd Sep 2012
Baluchistan Flood status
Further - Strong current from Jhal Magsi, Naseerabad and Jaffarabad districts of Baluchistan triggered a flood like situation in the Right Bank Outfall Drain at Qambar-Shahdakdkot district and posed a serious threat to Shadadkot town.

Advisor to the Chief Minster on Relief Haleem Adil Sheikh declared emergency in the entire Qambar Shahdkot district said that sever flood is heading towards Sahadadkot.

The advisor said that communication link with three union councils falling between Khirthar area and the Flood Protective Bund (FP Bund) has been severed and the local population has moved to higher places in the mountainous area of Khirthar and to facilitate their shifting, a free ferry service has been started he said.

“The irrigation system in the area has totally been collapsed as the deluge has created a natural calamity like situation”, he added and stressed an urgent need for long term planning to tackle such extraordinary situation in the future.

Haleem Adil (advisor to Chief Minister) further stated that truckload of stones have been rushed to the vulnerable points to plug the breaches reported. “All the department have been put on alert”, he said – Sind Food Minister Nadir Magsi also rushed to the area to monitor the situation he added.

Giving details Mr. Haleem Adil Sheikh mentioned, the damage caused by the recent rains and flooding in Shahdadkot, that over 1,747 villages have submerged affecting 243,249 villagers.

He said about 60,000 acre of standing paddy crop has been devastated and 34,884 houses been damaged. “At least 14 people have died another 31 injured and 573 cattle have perished in rain-related-incident in Qambar Shahdadkot district, he said.

He said that both RBOD III and Khirthar canal are flowing parallel to each other and described this as serious situation. He said 16 MAF (million acre feet) water is approaching from Baluchistan to Sind and flowing in an area stretched over 100 kilometer in two directions.

Standing crops suffered a loss of Rs.18 billon after torrential rains and heavy flood devastated about 19 per cent areas of Nasirabad and Jaffarabad districts in Baluchistan. This was disclosed at the meeting held in Dera Murad Jamali to review the flood situation in two districts.

The irrigation secretary said that 1.3 million acre of land has been affected in two districts causing a loss of about 18 billion to farmers and growers.

The Nasirabad Commissioner said Jhal Magsi & Kachhi districts have also been affected by the rains & flooding.

In the entire episode of Baluchistan flood situation Mr. Haleem Adil Sheikh Advisor to Chief Minister did not use the word “dam needs to be constructed being the only mandatory solution to absorb heavy torrential rains and flooding in the region which is eventually going ahead towards Sind or vice versa”. Similarly the authority in Sind also did not specify that how to tackle the floods –the heavy monsoon rains causes billion of amount damages to the province every year.

It’s crying need of the day to arrive at conclusion by both provinces (Sind & Baluchistan) for Dam construction in both provinces so that a permanent solution of this disaster can be arranged.

The following comparison for “Heavy Floods history in Pakistan from 2010 to 2012” giving us an understanding that up to what extent every year we get a national loss.

Flood crisis 2012  
Pakistan floods began in early September 2012, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Upper Sindh, Southern Punjab and Baluchistan regions of Pakistan.

However as per survey report published by NDMA for “‘Flood-affected areas’ The National Disaster Management team visited and surveyed flood-affected areas in every nook and cranny of the country and gathered a substantial data, as well as provided essential relief commodities to the affected people.

In its statistical report the NDMA revealed that the three units of the federal government — Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan – have been severely hit by the recent torrential rains and floods.
According to the NDMA statistics, 4.7 million people have been hit in the three provinces, with Sindh being the worst-affected with 3.1 million people reportedly hit.

A total of 428 people lost their lives in three provinces, with Sindh’s casualties totaling 222 people dead, besides the many seriously injured. A total of 400,000 houses have collapsed in the provinces. Out of these 300,000 houses belonged to Sindh alone.
Besides, cattle and crops cultivated on thousands of acres has been washed away with the heavy monsoon rain and flood that hit Sindh

Flood crisis 2011
The 2011 Sindh floods began during the Pakistani monsoon season in mid-August 2011, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in Sindh, Eastern Baluchistan and southern Punjab.

The floods caused considerable damage; an estimated 434 civilians were killed, with 5.3 millio­n people and 1,524,773 homes affect­ed. At least 1.7 million acres of arable land was inundated as a result of the flooding

The flooding followed the previous year's historic 2010 Pakistan floods, which devastated the entire country. Unprecedented torrential monsoon rains caused severe flooding in 16 districts of Sindh province.

Flood crisis 2010
The 2010 Pakistan floods began in late July 2010, resulting from heavy monsoon rains in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab and Baluchistan regions of Pakistan and affected the Indus River basin. Approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was underwater, approximately 796,095 square kilometers (307,374 square miles).

According to Govt. the floods directly affected about 20 million people, mostly by destruction of property, livelihood and infrastructure, with a death toll of close to 2,000.

The monsoon season (July- August) of 2010 wrought devastating, widespread floods in Pakistan.

The UN called it the "worst (natural) disaster in the UN's history". Massive floods inundated the length of the country, destroying lives, livelihoods, property, crops and livestock.

About 20 million people were affected in the natural disaster and 1.7 million houses were damaged or destroyed, said the UNHCR.

The flood also wiped out more than 2.2 million hectares of arable land, depriving rural communities of food and resources, said the Red Cross.

In conclusion I will say that our ruling elite should take it serious to build the Dam in given provinces to avoid of further loss to the country.
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