MANSEHRA: The quake survivors of red zone in Balakot on Saturday took to the streets in protest against delay in allotment of plots to them in the New Balakot City.
“The programme held on the 10th anniversary of Oct 2005 earthquake in Balakot by the government officials was just a photo session as survivors of the red zone are still living a miserable life and nobody is sincerely working to allot plots to the affected people at the New Balakot City (NBC),” said Mohammad Riaz, the nazim of Garlat neighbourhood council, while speaking at a protest gathering.
The survivors from Balakot and Garlat union councils gathered at the main chowk and raised slogans against the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. The protesters were holding banners and placards inscribed with their demands.
“We want a judicial commission to probe the embezzlement of over $5 billion financial assistance donated by the international community for the survivors,” said Mr Riaz. He said that the NBC housing project, which was meant for the settlement of around 5,000 families of the red zone of Balakot and Garlat, was in doldrums and neither the federal government nor provincial government was taking steps to solve their problems.
Say govt not sincere about resolving their problems
“We will now launch an agitation against both the federal and provincial governments if land being illegally occupied by people of Bakrial is not vacated by the government,” the nazim said.
He said that the families living in the red zone were in fact sitting on the active volcanic fault line, which could trigger disaster anytime.
The nazim said that the government should launch an inquiry against those officials of ERRA and the provincial government who were responsible for the delay in the execution of Rs13 billion housing project.
Over 5,000 surviving families are still living in miserable conditions in small shelters in the red zone.
TIMBER SMUGGLERS HELD: The forest department arrested four timber smugglers and sealed three saw machines operating without licences in Baffa area on Saturday.
A joint team of the forest and police departments, led by Oghi range district forest officer Mohammad Siddique, raided saw machines in Baffa and adjoining areas and sealed three of them which were running without licences. Those arrested were identified as Yar Mohammad, Hamid Nawaz, Habib Shah and Mohammad Ijaz.
Mr Siddique told mediapersons that the crackdown on illegal saw machines and those involved in selling smuggled timber would continue.
Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2015
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