KARACHI, Oct 6 (APP): President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said the entire focus of the government was to ‘Rebuild Better’ the homes and infrastructure devastated by the worst ever flooding in country’s history. Addressing the participants of Association of Builders and Developers of Pakistan here at the Bilawal House President said the government would not be contented with mere rebuilding but desires to rebuild better the vast areas destroyed by the floods.President Zardari said vast infrastructure has been devastated in the flooding in the country and the task too big to be undertaken by the government or the public sector alone.
President Zardari said the government will provide needed incentives to attract the private entrepreneurs in undertaking the task and added that it plans to introduce liberal policies for a robust private-public partnership on build.President Zardari said the objective of his meeting was to interact with members of this important body and discuss the post flood rehabilitation and reconstruction.
He hoped the brain storming with the role of builders and developers in the post flood rehabilitation was all the more important as the world has not seen in recent times a catastrophe of such magnitude.He said when the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon visited the flood affected areas he remarked ‘seeing is believing’ and said that in the over 60 years of UN history such a humanitarian disaster had not been witnessed.
President Zardari said the World Bank and the Asian development Bank were engaged in the Damages and Needs Assessment (DNA) and expressed the hope that the DNA would be completed next week.
He said the National Highway Authority has already completed its DNA and forwarded it to the Asian Development Bank, the lead agency for communications and transport sector.
The ADB and World Bank teams also visited Sindh about a week ago for this purpose.
President Zardari said in Sindh alone over 1900 KM of provincial roads including 27 bridges have been damaged extensively and added that this was besides the huge damage caused to the NHA and federal government projects.He said reconstruction of provincial roads and bridges in Sindh alone will cost over 14 billion rupees.The President said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has also been worst hit where damage to roads, bridges, schools, dispensaries, basic health units and other infrastructure projects has been colossal.
President Zardari said the losses were too big for the private sector to tackle it all by itself.“We all have to join hands and along with international support steer the ship of the country out of turbulent waters.”He said in this regard the builders and developers have a special role to play and it is they who will be called upon in a large measure to undertake the rebuilding and reconstruction tasks.The President urged the need to have innovative approaches and said the stereotype bureaucratic approach to the problem will not help.
He said “we will confront many challenges on the way. These are the challenges of technical expertise, of resource mobilization and of finding innovative ways of financing reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.”He called for having to think of the future as well.
“The floods may have been a one time extreme phenomenon. But this could also be a recurring feature if it was caused by climatic change. We therefore have to take into the possibility that we have to live with such kind of devastation in the future.”President Zardari therefore called for devising strategy to divert flood waters to deserts in the future if such floods, God forbid, were to hit again.He asked the experts and engineers how to proceed on this and urged them to give the matter a serious thought.He said there was also a need to consider ways and means to prevent the destruction of infrastructure like bandhs and dykes during floods.
The President pointed that the Chinese have made some advances in this technology and added that Kamal Majidullah will take a delegation to China next week to have an insight into the Chinese experience. He asked him to share his report with the provincial government.
The event was attended by Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Chairman ABAD Babar Mirza Chughtai – App