Flooding in seasonal rivers of Balochistan destroys 50 small water reservoirs
Around 50 small dams are reported to have been damaged in the torrential rains and flooding in the whole Balochistan province which have resultantly played havoc with the lives of hundreds of thousands of people whose houses have been demolished and their belongings have been washed away.
The affected people as well as some of the government officials and politicians have raised questions over the quality of material used in these dams, their faulty design and improper selections of the sites where they were built. They have held the concerned ministers, the irrigation department officials and the incompetent contractors responsible for the catastrophe.
Saboor Khan Kakar, the Chairman of the Chief Minister Inspection Team, told this scribe that around 50 dams are estimated to either have been damaged or destroyed due to the rains and his department is making inquiries into getting the exact number and the magnitude of the damage caused.
“I have taken notice of the severe damage caused to the dams in the province during the recent rains and the floods and have recommended inquiry against those responsible for that, whether they are officials from my department, the contractors or the politicians,” said Haji Mohammad Khan Lahri, the Provincial Irrigation Minister.
He further said that there are mafias of dam contractors who are very much influential and manage to obtain worker orders through their contacts. “They have clearly done sub-standard work and have only minted money for themselves, for some of the politicians as well as corrupt government officials, sadly at the cost of public exchequer.”
Pervaiz Khan Mondokhail, the spokesperson of Balochistan Contractors Association, however challenged the politicians and irrigation department officials for not extorting commission in the contracts of dams. “We are willing to accept the responsibility for poor quality of construction work, provided that the engineers, the concerned ministers, secretaries of various departments are also booked for their foul play in all this,” he told this scribe.
“When we are forced to work on old rates and 14% of the total cost of the project goes to the concerned ministers/MPAs as kickbacks, 10% to department officials, 12% to site engineers, 7% in income tax and 6% to the Balochistan Revenue Authority, what do you think we are left with? How is it possible that contractors ensure quality of work within that 50% of amount.”
The BCA spokesperson said that in Balochistan though there is a development policy, the politicians use the planning and development department in their interest.
“Planning and Development department’s sole agenda is tendering, awarding contracts worth 500 million on the basis of dishing out bribes of five lac rupees so there no scrutiny of the identified development schemes go through technical committees. So much so that the whole policy is confined to tendering and the main beneficiary are the politicians,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that the province of Balochistan earned a bad name for the highest rate of corruption in the country which is said to be an unbelievable 80%. But there are no checks or balances and no serious probes conducted into the embezzlements and kickback. Hence the massive destruction in the floods.