Pakistan

Villagers to protest delay in rebuilding schools

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MANSEHRA, Dec 23: The residents of two Oghi villages have threatened to agitate over delay in the reconstruction of schools destroyed by the Oct 2005 earthquake.

Afsar Khan, Abdul Rehman, Mohammad Kabir and Sardar Khan from Chajar Bala and Chajar Pain told reporters in Oghi the other day that the buildings of the government primary schools in their villages were pulled down after they developed big cracks in the devastating earthquake seven years ago.

They added that reconstruction of schools began two years ago but was later halted forcing children to study in the open.

“What a pity that schoolchildren study in the open in this severe cold weather. Many of them have complained of respiratory tract infections,” said Mr Afsar.

The villagers said they had taken up the matter with the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority and education department officials, but to no avail.

“They cite lack of funds as a major hurdle to the reconstruction of schools,” Mr Kabir said.

He said the government had announced to give books in the hands of youths but rather, it was snatching books from them.

The villagers warned that they would agitate and block Oghi-Mansehra Road if reconstruction of the two schools didn’t resume forthwith.

They also threatened to stage a sit-in outside parliament in Islamabad along with children on the matter.

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