Met Department taken to task for wrong flood forecasts
By: Dilshad Azeem
ISLAMABAD: While taking a U-turn on its earlier observations, the Meteorological Department has told the federating units that the floods would not be more than average during the current monsoon season.
“The provincial representatives brought the Met personnel under scathing criticism over, what they dubbed its wrong information about weather forecasts,” official sources confided to The News here Tuesday after a high level meeting.
The Met officials, they maintained, abruptly changed their earlier stance on provincial irrigation representatives’ being harsh towards them and confined there statement only for August.“Average monsoon rainfall is expected during the present month,” was the response by the DG Met Arif Mahmood after the provincial representatives, particularly those from Sindh, sought authentic information.
Water and Power Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar chaired the meeting held on Monday. It was attended by DG Met Asif Mahmood, Army Engineering Corps, Flood Commission representatives, Secretary Water and Power, NDMA Chairman, IRSA Chairman, Provincial irrigation representatives, Wapda, Planning Commission and others.
The provinces had major objections on the Met department’s forecast that the country would have to experience a rainfall at least 15 percent more than average which could cause heavy floods. The federating units, the sources said, took on the Met department officials to task saying the provinces spent huge funds while taking contingency measures to counter the forecasted flood situation.
“Wapda and Irsa also complained that they kept the dams unfilled and continue to release water hoping to get more water in monsoons but the situation is altogether different,” they added.
At the same time, the NDMA chairman complained against the provinces over non-provision of agreed funds of Rs6 billion each by the Punjab and Sindh. “He contended that only a few million rupees were given out by both the provinces and his department is unable to take rescue and relief measures in case of flood”.
The NDMA, under mechanism, collects funds from the centre and the provinces and then conduct the rescue and relief activities through its provincial disaster management authorities. The Irsa chairman apprised the meeting that the Wapda might not be in a position to fill the existing reservoirs up to their maximum level due to less rains and discharge of water as flood mitigation and controlling measure in the last two months.