Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Compensation for Hunza lake affectees announced

ISLAMABAD, May 26: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday announced a comprehensive compensation package for the people affected by the inundation of their homes created by the artificial lake, due to land slide at Atta Abad in Hunza. .

The prime minister said relief goods worth Rs 50 million have already been dispatched to the area for the affected people. He said an amount of Rs 200,000 would be paid for those who lost their land, Rs 400,000 for completely damaged houses and Rs 160,000 for partially damaged houses.

The prime minister assured that all the 500 families would be provided due compensation transparently.

The prime minister said the government of Gilgit Baltistan would provide free wheat and flour for next two months to the affectees and Rs 100,000 for the submerged properties of Aminabad, Shishkat and Gulmit, besides an amount of Rs 5000 for each affected family for six months.

He said Utility Stores Corporation would set up its outlets at Gilgit and Sust.

To a question Gilani said there was no negligence as the helicopters made 751 sorties to provide relief goods and to evacuate and shift the stranded people. He said it was apart from relief goods carried by 3 C-130 plane loads.

He said an additional food support of Rs 55 million was being provided besides an amount of Rs 45 million by NGOs and various organisations.

He also asked the government of Gilgit Baltistan to establish an Education Assistance Fund for at least two semesters for the affected children in the area.

The prime minister also announced construction of the damaged sections of the Karakoram Highway.

Gilani was also appreciative of the efforts of the governments of Punjab and Sindh for relief measures and urged other philanthropists and relief agencies to assist the government in this task.

Chairman NDMA General (Retd) Nadeem said the lake was rising by 3.1 feet a day and said in case of heavy rains or glacier bursts the process could speed up. He said with regular flow water was expected to reach the spillway by May 28.

He said red flags have been erected all along the route, the water can take if the lake bursts and people have been moved to safer places.

He said the artificial lake has 0.13 Million Acre Feet of water, while the capacity of Tabella dam was around 6 MAF and could easily accommodate this water.

He said the landslide at Atta Abad covers an area of around 2 km and it was not possible to blast it away as it could have triggered more landslides in an area which is highly unstable. He said experts of World Bank and Britain termed the measures taken as the best possible under the prevailing circumstances. APP

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