Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had to announce on the floor of the house on Monday that members of the assembly would be given full opportunity to express their views on the unprecedented floods that had devastated both the population and the economy of the province. As the house assembled in the morning to open its new session, it seemed that a large number of MPAs were desperate to either castigate their fellow members in the house for leveling allegations of turning the natural calamity into a man-made disaster or defending themselves for saving cities and towns by allowing floodwater to ravage small villages and katcha lands. The atmosphere outside the assembly building was also reflective of the public’s aspirations from the elected representatives who were expected to take up the issue of flood devastation as well as displacement and rehabilitation of millions of affected people on a priority basis. Police and Rangers had blocked the way of a sizeable number of internally displaced persons — who wanted to plead their case by staging a demonstration outside the assembly building — a couple of kilometres from their desired venue. Sindh Minister for Irrigation Jam Yousuf Darejo also faced a flurry of questions from the media on different flood-related issues as he came out of the building. He told them that the breach at the MS embankment in Thatta district had since been plugged and another breach developed near Ghouspur was being plugged and the work was expected to be completed within the next 24 hours. In reply to another question, he said judicial and departmental inquiries would be initiated into the breaches caused to Tori and other embankments within the next few days. He said the provincial irrigation department had already spent Rs400 million on plugging of breaches strengthening of embankments the flood-hit areas. He told the media that the situation was now under control as MS Bund breach had been plugged. “A final decision has been taken about conducting a judicial inquiry into the causes of the breach,” he said. Mr Darejo said flowing water into canals had also been allowed now when the flood emergency had been lifted. About the return of the IDPs, he said it might take another month or more for all of them to start returning home. Plots for IDPs Leader of the opposition in the house Jam Madad Ali called for allotment of residential plots to IDPs in Karachi. Speaking to the media before the start of the session, he said federal and provincial governments should also provide them with funds to for the reconstruction of their houses. He insisted that flood-affected people from the interior of Sindh had all the right to live in Karachi, warning that the government should not succumb to any pressure in this regard. Jam Madad Ali urged the government to ensure provision of livelihood to all flood-hit people and take measures to rehabilitate them. Token of respect Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah soon after the house started its proceedings announced that all willing members would have the opportunity to express his views on the issues relating to the unprecedented floods in the province. He gave this assurance before Law Minister Ayaz Soomro was given floor to move his motion seeking postponement of the new session’s first day proceedings to pay respect to slain MPA Syed Raza Haider of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Mr Shah said let us pray for all those who had lost their lives during the period from the end of the previous session till date. They included those who died in the floods, he said, adding that he would not like to go into their merits and demerits but would like to pray for all of them. The chief minister also paid tribute to MQM founder-member Dr Imran Farooq, who was killed in London last week, saying that Dr Imran was an known political worker and a close associate of MQM chief Altaf Hussain. Paying tribute to Syed Raza Haider, who was killed in Karachi on Sept 1, Mr Shah said the MPA was a man of few words by nature. He never indulged in an unnecessary talk but paid due attention to the house business and legislation like a committed legislator. The law minister also paid tribute to the slain MPA and said that as per the tradition of the Sindh Assembly, he would like to move a motion seeking adjournment of the session for the day as a mark of respect for the fellow MPA. The motion was adopted by the house and the members offered fateha for all departed souls. The chair, Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, called it a day at 12.10pm announcing that the session would resume on Monday at 9.30am.
By: Dawn News