On January 2, the Chashma Right Bank Irrigation Project area once again experienced heavy flash flooding, damaging irrigation and public infrastructures, crops, houses, and tube wells. The flooding was caused by the prolonged raining in the western Suleiman Range, but local groups argue that its adverse impacts were exacerbated by the inappropriate design of the cross-drainage structures and flood carrier channels under the Chashma Right Bank Canal Project. Press reports from Multan have said that the canal was breached at five points.
The Chief Minister of Punjab has visited the flooded area in Taunsa Tahsil, and indicates that the flooding in the Indus River right bank is being recognized as a very serious problem. The ADB has argued that the recent floods were not related to the Project. Since the construction of the Canal, the whole project area, especially the Indus riverine belt and the region located in the west side of the main canal, have experienced regular adverse flooding.
The ADB’s South Asia Regional Department has to date not made progress on finalizing the draft “Action Plan” developed after approval of the Chashma Inspection Panel Report by the Board in August 2004. Led by the Chashma Lok Sath, civil society members have decided to stage a hunger strike in front of the ADB Islamabad office on February 15 to show their protest on the way the ADB and the Government is handling the issue.