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Upper Chitral village councillors threaten resignations

protest The protesters said despite prime minister’s directions the local administration was delaying the payment of compensation to the people for their damaged houses. They said the federal governent had also announced to waive agricultural loans in Chitral but the officials of private banks were harassing the residents to pay back the laons which they cannot. The village council members warned that if the ambiguity continued and the government did not clear the roles and functions of the members of the village councils, the elected representatives would tender resignation en masse. The protesters said that before the elections the government had made tall claims about the financial and administrative powers of the village councils but after holding the elections it rubbished the village councils as though it was a fraud and a drama. They said the District Council had started its functions and also passed a budget but the village councils were neither provided funds, offices nor their roles and functions announced by the government. The village councillors also came down hard on the deputy commissioner of Chitral for delaying the payment of cash compensation to the owners of houses damaged in the Oct 26 earthquake. The protesters said that after the natural calamity, thousands of houses were damaged in upper Chitral and the government ordered an assessment for the timely payment of cash compensation to the affected people so that they could rebuild their houses before the harsh winter season. Lists prepared by the elected local government representatives were given to the district administration but the new deputy commissioner Chitral ordered verification of the lists. They said even after the directions of the prime minister to pay the compensation to the affectees, the DC continued the verification through patwaris ad local administration officials. During the so-called verification, they added, the names of hundreds of affecetd people were dropped from the lists. The protesters said that as the winter set in with heavy snow/rainfall, the displaced people remained without the cash compensation. They said the DC was trying to exclude as many affected people from the list as possible to lessen the financial burden on the government at the cost of the poor people.]]>

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