PM assures govt’s full support to earthquake victims

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PANAKOT, Nov 19 (APP): Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Thursday handed over cheques for compensation payments amongst the earthquake affected people in Upper Dir and assured his government’s full support to help them return to their normal lives, and better living conditions.
Addressing a large gathering the Prime Minister said the government immediately after the earthquake mobilised all resources and directed authorities to reach out to the affected people in the remotest areas.
The Prime Minister said the first priority was the relief efforts and to reach out to the injured and the second phase was their rehabilitation, that was going ahead at a fast pace.
He said the priority in this regard was to ensure that the
damaged houses were constructed before the harsh winter sets in. He
said the government was fully aware of the problems being faced by
the earthquake affected people, living in the remote areas and said
the federal and the provincial government have worked together to
help them, in their hour of trial.
The Prime Minister offered ‘fateha’ for those who lost their
lives and extended his profound grief. He said though the payments
were not a compensation for the precious lives lost, but was meant
to help their families cope with the great loss.
He said it was his obligation to reach out to the people who
had suffered because of the natural calamity and recalled his visits
to various affected areas.
The Prime Minister announced construction of a high quality
road from Chakdara-Dir-Chitral and said the Lowari tunnel too would
be completed by next year and help shorten the travel time and ease
their sufferings. He said the two projects would cost Rs 50
billion.
He also announced construction of a 132 KVA Grid Station to
help meet the power requirements of the area. He said the government
would be able to address the issue of power shortages and assured
that before the end of his government’s term in office the issue
would no more be a problem.
Prime Minister Sharif said his government was burning midnight
oil to help address the problems being faced by the masses.
Referring to the demand of the locals about provision of
natural gas to the region, he said the locally produced gas was not
enough to meet the demand. However he assured that gas would be
provided to Upper Dir as soon as the country’s gas requirements from
imports were met.
The Prime Minister was earlier given a briefing about the
extent of damages caused by the magnitude 8 earthquake that shook
the area on Oct 26, killing 188 people in the province. He was
briefed in detail about earthquake relief, rehabilitation measures
in Upper Dir.
Commissioner Upper Dir said the quake killed 20 people in
Upper Dir and injured 162. Of these, he said payment for
compensation has been made to families of 14 killed and 35 injured.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had announced a compensation
package of Rs 600,000 for those killed, Rs 200,000 for those who
lost a limb, Rs 100,000 for the injured, Rs 200,000 for fully
damaged house, while Rs 100,000 for partially damaged houses.
He said 353 schools were also damaged for which an amount of
Rs 55 crore has been released. He said 3330 houses were damaged, of
which compensation cheques have been handed over for 1650 houses.
He was informed that the relief goods included 3447 tents,
5018 blankets, 1938 cooked food packets and 298 floor mats have been
distributed amongst the affected people.
The Prime Minister was told that compensation process would
be completed by November 25. He was informed that Dir Upper was the worst
quake affected district where government departments were tirelessly
working for assistance of the affected people.
Prime Minister’s visit to Upper Dir reflects his deep commitment
towards assistance and rehabilitation of earthquake victims of KP.
He earlier also visited quake hit areas of Shangla, Dir Lower, Swat,
Bajaur Agency and Peshawar to personally reviewe relief operations.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Information Minister
Pervaiz Rashid, Governor KPK Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan Abbasi, JI
Member National Assembly from Dir leader Tariq Ullah Khan and
Advisor on Political Affairs Amir Muqam.