Senate body expresses dissatisfaction over progress

ISLAMABAD (INP) Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat expressed its dissatisfaction over the progress of work on the project of New Balakot city and decided to visit the site itself after Eid-ul-Azha.

The committee showed resentment over the slow pace of work and called it a failure for many concerned departments. The meeting was presided over by Senator. Kalsoom Parveen at the Parliament House.

The Senators were told by Brigadier Wajid, acting Deputy Chairman ERRA, that 67% rehabilitation work has been completed in the areas affected by 2005 earthquake and the rest is in progress. He complained that ERRA is not being given the authority to work on New Balakot City Project properly and until now only 14% of the land has been given under ERRA’s control. 86% of land of the project is disputed and hence ERRA is denied permission to work. In response to Senators’ queries about the reasons of these hurdles, he said that ERRA has repeatedly asked the PM and CM (KP) for help but no concrete steps have been taken yet.

The Committee was also given a detailed briefing about the recent floods in Pakistan by NDMA and Federal Flood Commission (FFC). The chairperson of the Committee Senator Kalsoom Parveen said that the same was discussed in the previous meeting of the Committee but the members were not satisfied by the reports presented.

Chairman NDMA General Muhammad Saeed Aleem briefed the committee that the damage caused due to recent monsoon in Pakistan was due to flash floods, landslides, urban flooding and river floods. In response to Senator Saeeda Iqbal’s question, he told the committee that this year’s monsoon rainfall was not in Suleiman Range and all the floods came in Ravi, Jhelum and Chenab as a result of water release from India.

Senator Rubina Khalid and Senator Begum Najma Hameed proposed to the committee that volunteer forces need to be prepared and trained so that whenever any such disaster hits Pakistan.

Chairman FFC Asghar Imtiaz told the Committee that a National Flood Protection Plan (2015-25) is under preparation and it will complete its work plan by 31st January 2015. Senator Kalsoom Parveen expressed her concerns on hiring NESPAK as consultant for the plan and asked for including more companies for the project rather than one.

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