Heavily funded FFC fails to deliver

ISLAMABD The devastating flood has raised questions over the role and performance of the Federal Flood Commission Pakistan (FFC) that has so far spent over Rs 87 billion on flood control projects. Out of this total spending, the federal government provided Rs 54.422 billion while the rest was foreign funding. The FFC was established in 1977 as a consequence of the disastrous floods of 1973 and 1976 to integrate flood management planning at national level and to shift from crisis-provoked approach to risk management approach for effective flood management. The FFC works under the Ministry of Water and Power with a mandate to execute flood control projects by effective management of floods, especially relating to the Indus River System. But the available data shows that despite having spent Rs 87.827 billion the FCC appears to have failed in achieving its objectives of securing properties and lives of people from the devastating floods. Sources in the Planning Commission revealed that FFC progress to control flood remains at zero level, as most of the projects did not witness any physical work on ground. The documents available with TheNation show that majority of the projects had been either completed or near to completion. The FFC prepared first National Flood Protection Plan in 1978 and spent Rs 1.630 billion under the National Flood Protection Plan (NFPP)-1 (1978-1987) and an amount of Rs 4.860 billion was spent under NFPP-11 (1988-97). Similarly, under the Prime Ministers River Management Programme 1994-1996, an amount of Rs 33.405 billion was spent. Furthermore, under NFPP-111 (1998-2007) an amount of Rs 4165 million was spent in the four provinces to control floods. Moreover, under NFPP-IV (2008-2017) an amount of Rs 30 billion has been planned to spend on flood control projects. It is also important to mention here that during 2007-08, Rs 214.679 million were spent in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa for the construction of flood protection works where the government allocation was Rs 168.300 million and foreign share was Rs 34.810 million while surprisingly the ministers quota was Rs 203.11 million. Further, many flood protection projects under PSDP 2007-08 in Punjab were completed with the allocation of Rs 688.500 million for flood protection works, while ministers quota was surprisingly Rs 783.5 million, and Rs 489.747 million were spent under the Prime Ministers directives especially for protecting towns, villages and infrastructure in Bhakkar from the Indus water. In Sindh, Rs 936.065 million were spent on different flood protection projects. These were initiated with the government allocation of Rs 474.300 and Rs 15.19 million foreign funding, while ministers quota in it was 489.49 million during 2007-08. Moreover, Balochistan got an allocation of Rs 122.400 million for flood protecting structures and FATA got Rs 45.900 million for flood protecting schemes and projects. During 2007-08, Azad Jammu and Kashmir got Rs 15.300 million and Rs 76.892 million were the allocation for Northern Areas where the government allocation was Rs 15.300 million and ministers quota was Rs 30.300 million. The FFC had also spent Rs 33.4 billion under the Prime Ministers River Management Programme 1994-1996 to execute flood control projects. The amount of Rs 4860 million was spent under the Flood Sector Protection Project (FPSP-1) and Rs 2541 million spending was under the Annual Development Programme. Under the Second Flood Protection Sector Project (FPSP-11), an amount of Rs 432 million was spent. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) provided Rs 80 percent whereas the federal government contributed 20 percent financing to execute this project. The total cost of the project stands at Rs 432 million. According to the FFC, at least 1,540 persons have lost their lives and 2,088 have got injured due to the devastated floods across the country so far. As many as 557,226 houses have been destroyed and 6,311,691 persons have been affected across the country by the flash flood. According to the data released by the FFC, 4,070,384 acres of cropped and 4,631,855 acres areas have also been affected. The FFC has also said that at least 91,210 houses have been destroyed or damaged in Punjab, 201,700 in Sindh, 178,195 houses in KP, 75,261 in Balochistan, 1,4832 in FATA, 2,820 in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and 6,508 in AJK so far. At least 1,477 relief camps have been established in the entire flood-hit areas. The flood also affected 10,942 villages in various parts including 3,132 in Punjab, 4,274 in Sindh, 581 in KP, 2,584 in Balochistan and 371 in GB while 158,399 cattle heads perished in the affected areas. It is relevant to note here that since the establishment of the FFC so far Rs 88 billions were spent in all provinces, including FATA and AJK areas. But these projects were not executed as per design and objectives as perceived in the projects documents approved by the Planning Commission. The recent floods have also exposed the effectiveness of the FFC as well as corruption in this national institution that needs to be controlled immediately.

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