Release of earthquake funds for upper Chitral demanded

BOONI: A delegation of Tehreek Huqooq-i-Awam (THA) upper Chitral met AC Mastuj Hayat Shah and took up with him the issue of compensation to the people affected by repeated natural calamities.

The delegation members told the official that a vast majority of the people of upper Chitral were not paid any compensation after their houses were damaged in the 2015 earthquake.
They said on the invitation of the THA, the late DC Chitral Osama Ahmad Waraich visited Booni last year and informed a meeting that out of the Rs.3 billion received from the federal and provincial governments about 2.19 billion had been distributed among the affectees, THA information secretary M. Pervez Lal told ChitralToday.
But at that time the DC was informed that most of the amount was distributed in lower Chitral and the affected people of Subdivision Mastuj were yet to be given cheques.
On this, the DC promised that the remaining amount of Rs. 810 million available with the district administration would be distributed among the quake affectees of upper Chitral. But some elements in Booni asked the DC at that time to spend the amount on the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructure instead of paying to the affected people. As a result, the amount was neither paid to the quake-devastated people nor used for the reconstruction of the infrastructure.
The THA leaders during the Monday meeting requested the AC to play his role in getting the amount released. They said the funds could also be utilized for the assistance of the snow affected people of upper Chitral who were yet to get any help from the government.
Secondly, the AC was briefed about the issue of agricultural loan write-off as announced by the prime minister in July 2015.
They said as the government did not issue the notification through the State Bank the local bank officials were harassing the flood and quake-hit people. They said the government should issue the notification without any further delay.
The THA leaders also took up the delay in the establishment of a powerhouse for Booni by the SRSP. They said the contractor last year had given an undertaking on stamp paper, verified by the then AC, that civil work on the project would be completed by Dec 28, 2016. However, even after getting his dues amounting to Rs.4 million the contractor did not complete the civil work as yet.
THA leaders belonging to areas outside Booni also requested the AC to take up the natter with authorities concerned, saying people coming to Booni for different work were facing lots of hardship due to the absence of electricity.
The AC assured the delegation that he would take up all the issues with higher authorities. He said he would also approach the DC Chitral about the earthquake funds and try to get it released for the affected people.