Sunday, August 29, 2010

Flood dividends

In agrarian societies floods have always been considered and looked forward to.They brought much needed water and soil fertility and rejuvenated the land.Due to increasing population and human settlements and environmental degradation, misery,afflictions and losses have increased.In this blog ,I have tried to examine if Floods have or would give some dividends as well and somehow balance the sheet.Some benefits will accrue to the economic and social life of the people,as we shall see in the following:

Firstly,it is being predicted that in Punjab ,there would be more agricultural out put due to water and increased soil fertility.One is not so sure of Sindh,as devastation has been more intense and widespread.Will water recede soon in time and people rehabilitated in time to start their agricultural cycle,is an open question.

Secondly consensus on storage dams seem to be emerging in Sindh, as if we needed this much flood destruction to recognize the truth and the reality.No amount of obfuscation would convince people that there is no water to be stored,that peoples lives and property could be saved by flood mitigation role of the storage dam and that human life is more important than the loss of land in delta .Already Bhasha dam is being built without opposition from circles in Sindh.Let us forget Kalabagh for the time being.There are psychological and political issues involved.It is difficult to accept too soon that one was wrong.Hopefully truth would have dawned on every body.

Thirdly provincial irrigation departments have been thoroughly exposed.It would be easier for the reigning government to introduce and implement reforms, quite a few of which have been sabotaged by these people.I have mentioned earlier and elsewhere of the telemetry system for water flow data that is in abeyance and many other reform measures in the pipeline.If government wants to break the water mafia.this is the time.

Fourthly,people will come to realize that Environmental issues deserve attention.These are not mere fashion as has been generally perceived and that we are connected with the global environmental issues. Global warming may be hurting us more than others ,as more floods and droughts are expected in the wake of the impending climate change.And the loss of biodiversity and the deforestation in the catchment areas contribute to flood peaks and gushes.Environment is a resource which feeds and protects us.May be more sensitivities may develop to pollution and environmental degradation.

Fifthly,more realism on international political issues and perceptions.Taliban announced that they would offer 20 million US dollars in flood relief ,if the international aid is rejected by the government.They might have looted and plundered to come with this kind of money.They in fact continued their atrocities even in the month of Ramazan.International technical.logistic and financial aid came in.It is expected to go beyond one billion US dollars in humanitarian relief assistance alone.Other project aid and loan is also being discussed.Even IMF is loosening its conditionalities.We should be very thankless people if we dont appreciate all of this ,and differentiate among friends and foes. I am sure this would also be a great source of public political education.

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