Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah while categorically rejecting the lame accusations of planned breaches at certain embankments of River Indus had blamed propagandists for peddling conspiracy theories as to defame the government.
According to an handout issued here, the chief minister said this while talking to media at Circuit House Thatta on Saturday after a visit to the flood hit areas of the district. He said he had come to the city to oversee the relief and rescue operations in addition to the efforts to plug the breaches as to prevent further submersion. Explaining the government’s position about the breaches at different embankments of River Indus in Sindh, Qaim said the rifts Torhi, Soorjani and P.B bunds had occurred naturally either owing to the spillover of the river water or because of inexorable pressure of the water currents on the embankments.
The chief minister informed that about 15 feet space of the breach at P.B had been stuffed while the remaining would be completed in 3 days time, adding that the work was being undertaken by the Engineering Core of Pakistan Army. Responding to a complaint about providing a 2-hour ultimatum to the people for evacuation of the city despite being familiar with its population on the top of the chaos which the act could have entailed, the chief minister and Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza controverted the claim and said the people were given 48 hours to vacate while they were also informed about the gradual upsurge of water towards the city areas, which clearly suggests that the government did not intend to set the alarm bells ringing. But unfortunately some sections of media created unrest among the people by airing just a fraction of the complete scenario, they added.
Qaim maintained that though the relief camps for the displaced people of Thatta had been set up in Karachi but the people were reluctant to leave being concerned of their property and livestock. Citing the government’s timely efforts for the rescue of the people to prevent loss of life, the chief minister stated that only 25 people had been killed by the flood, including 6 in Thatta. Regarding the losses suffered by the province in terms of infrastructure, crops, agriculture, housing and other sectors, he said the so far calculated loss of Rs. 550 billion could go up to the extent of Rs. 750 billion after the flood had settled down.
The chief minister informed that the provincial government had not yet received the foreign aid while it was financing the relief and rescue operations through its own pockets. He underlined that the next phase of rehabilitation of the people would be started soon, while the government being mindful of the flood-wreaked devastation would institute a holistic planning for the future. Earlier, Sindh Chief Minister accompanied by Sindh Irrigation Minister Jam Saifullah Dharejo took an aerial view of the flood affected areas and visited the site of breach at P.B. Bund.
Subsequently, he also took briefing from Chief Engineer Irrigation Kotri Barrage Manzoor Shaikh and the district administration about the flood fighting measures and rescue and relief efforts, respectively, at Circuit House Thatta. On the occasion he was accompanied by Sindh Home Minister Zulfiqar Mirza, Sindh Culture Minister Ms. Sassui Palijo, Special Assistant to CM Ghulam Qadir Malkani, MPAs Humera Alwani, Rukhsana Shah and Sadiq Memon and President PPP Thatta Arbab Wazir Memon.