SIALKOT/NAROWAL -  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Saturday took an aerial view of the flood-hit areas near Head Marala-Sialkot, Pasrur, Zafarwal, Qila Ahmedabad and surrounding areas in a helicopter on Saturday.

The district administration gave a detailed briefing to the prime minister on the persisting flood situation in Sialkot district. Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ch Ahsan Iqbal, MNA Ch Armughan Subhani and several MPAs from Sialkot accorded warm welcome to the prime minister upon his arrival at the Sialkot International Airport.

Talking to Khawaja Asif, Ch Ahsan Iqbal and local parliamentarians during his short stay at Sialkot International Airport, Nawaz Sharif said that nothing could be more important than public service and the government was standing shoulder to-shoulder with the flood-affected people in this hour of need. He added every effort would be made for their rehabilitation.

Nawaz Sharif said the PML-N government had evolved a comprehensive programme for the relief and rehabilitation of marooned people as relief camps had been set up in the affected areas. The PM revealed that he was also collecting information about the the latest flood situation and relief activities round the clock.

He said the government would not leave the flood-affected people alone in this hard time and announce relief package soon to compensate the flooded areas’ people. He revealed the PML-N government was implementing an effective flood-fighting strategy to combat flood threats in the country.

Nawaz said no effort would be spared for the relief and rehabilitation of flood victims and no laxity or negligence in this regard would be tolerated. He said that besides rehabilitation of the land routes to the areas cut off by the heavy rains, provision of ration, medicines and other essential items to the stranded people would be ensured, adding relief activities through boats would immediately be started. He said a survey of losses caused by rains and floods would be conducted to provide compensation to the victims.

Later, MNA Ch Armughan Subhani told newsmen that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had taken serious notice of the fact that 85 villages of Bajwat, district Sialkot, had been cut off from other areas.

Later, talking to the flood-affected people from Bajwat, Pasrur, Zafarwal, Qila Ahmedabad and surrounding flooded areas at Baddo Malhi, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said they should not consider themselves alone as he would personally solve their problems. He said all resources were being utilised to help and rehabilitate the marooned people.

Indian water hits 6.5m acres crops

Staff Reporter from Lahore adds: Release of water by India into the three rivers of Pakistan has hit the kharif crops standing over 6.5 million acres, said Agri Forum Chairman Ibrahim Mughal on Saturday.

“Cotton over 3 million acres, rice over 2.5 million acres and sugarcane over one million acre are under threat due to the floodwater,” he said. He was of the view that the Indian water bomb would cause Rs 300 billion loss to the national economy while trade deficit would hit $ 25 billion. “The purpose of India behind hitting the cotton crops is to destroy Pakistan’s textile industry which contributes 63 per cent to the country’s export,” he said.

Ibrahim said that destruction of sugarcane crop would create shortage of sugar in the coming season while the government had not evolved any policy to overcome the crisis.

He held that India was already creating hurdles in the export of Pakistan’s rice and the damage to this crop would strengthen Indian rice in the foreign market. He urged the government to inform the people of the flood devastation caused by the Indian water.