Flood Relief activities monitored by President through video conferencing

President Asif Ali ZardariISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday visited various flood-affected areas of Sindh through satellite video conferencing and interacted with the elected representatives and government officials to monitor flood relief activities in the province.

The President focused on the drainage issue, availability of seeds for the Rabi crop 2011-12 and distribution of Pakistan Cards among the flood affectees. During video conferencing, the fifth in series, held at the special Flood Control Cell of Aiwan-e-Sadr, the President visited districts of Thatta, Badin, Hyderabad, Tando Allah Yar, Mirpurkhas, Matiari and Umerkot.Those who were present during the video conferencing included among others Information Minister Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, Minister for Water and Power, Syed Naveed Qamar, Secretary General Salman Faruqui, Farahnaz Ispahani, Fouzia Wahab, Mehreen Anwer Raja, Secretary Information Taimur Azmat Osman, Chairman NDMA Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadir, Chairman NADRA Ali Arshad Hakeem, Chairman PARC Dr.  Iftikhar Ahmed and other senior officials.

The Chief Minister Sindh was participating in the video conferencing from the control room of Chief Minister House Karachi whereas the elected representatives and concerned District Coordination Officers of the affected areas were present in the control rooms in the field to brief the President about on ground situation and the progress made in President’s earlier directives regarding flood relief activities.Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar while briefing the media about the video conferencing said that the President enquired about the mechanism of wheat seed availability and its distribution for the upcoming Rabi crop 2011-12.

The President advised that the distribution mechanism of the wheat seed be devised at the earliest and the seed be provided to the affected areas on priority so as to enable the farmers to sow wheat crop as soon as dewatering process is completed, which, he was informed, would be completed within next few days.The President also directed the concerned government officials to expedite all the relief efforts in the wake of fast approaching winter season.The President was also briefed about progress on dewatering of the stagnated water, especially in Badin, and of drainage plan to find permanent solution to this issue.

It may be recalled that during the last video conferencing, Speaker National Assembly Dr. Fehmida Mirza who was present in the video conferencing, had pointed out that most of the floodwater that had drained out from other areas, had stagnated in Badin and called for special plans for drainage in the area.The Spokesperson said the President reiterated his call for a comprehensive study to be carried out to examine feasibility of diverting floodwaters to the natural catchment areas in deserts for use in future and for irrigating parched land in interior Sindh keeping in view the possibility of any such natural calamity in wake of climatic changes in the region.During the conferencing, the President was also briefed about progress made in the distribution of Pakistan Cards among the flood affectees, the Spokesperson said.  – APP