Natural calamities and our hypocrisy

letter But after the July-Aug floods and then the Oct 26 devastating earthquake, made-made mess added to the agonies of the people of Chitral. There were also people who kept on demanding compensations even though there was no damaged to their properties. Some of them even succeeded in getting compensation cheques. Who to blame when cash provided to the local administration for the relief of the affected people could not be provided to them on time. Some people say, and they are right too, that local government elected representatives, Patwaris and unscrupulous elements out to cash in on the situation were mainly responsible for the mess. But then the district administration also could not come up to the expectations and remained a silent spectator to the whole situation. It is said that based on the initial assessment of damages, cheques worth Rs300 million were handed to people in just one village of upper Chitral. But after complaints by different quarters, the cheques were put on hold and banks directed not to cash them till reassessment of the damages to be carried out by the district admin, revenue department and Chitral Scouts officials. On the other hand, the AC Mastuj ordered the registration of cases against those who tried to get compensation on fake claims. Officials in Booni said dozens of FIRs were registered against people who had minor damages, including cracks to their houses, but had subnitted affidavits for compensations. They said officials of the local revenue department, especially patwaris, had incldued the names of their relatives and friends in the list of affected people. All these uncalled for moves caused an inordinate delay in the payment of compensations to the quake-hit people creating more troubles for them in the cold weather. Imtiaz Booni Booni, Chitral.]]>

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