ISLAMABAD: The military has sought urgent release of funds by the government for the repatriation and rehabilitation of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs), authoritative sources have confirmed.
“The issue of TDPs was discussed in detail in the recent meeting of the Apex Committee held in Peshawar,” the sources said. “The committee members expressed concern over the unnecessary delay in allocation of funds for phase-I and phase-III of rehabilitation and permanent reconstruction projects for the TDPs.”
The sources said the members of the committee were also concerned over non-disbursement of housing subsidy by the federal government for the TDPs. They termed all the above-mentioned issues as core issues affecting the timely return of TDPs to their homes.
According to officials, Rs80 billion were allocated by the federal government during the current financial year for the TDPs. Of this amount, Rs30 billion, which was spread over three years, is meant for permanent reconstructions for the TDPs.
It is payable in equal installments of Rs10 bn per year. The rest of the money i.e. Rs50 billion is to be spent on payment of housing subsidies, repatriation and rehabilitation of the TDPs. However, of the allocated amount, only 15-20pc had been released.
The sources said that all the TDPS were to be repatriated by November this year but the progress was slow and only 42 percent had been sent home. The return of these TDPs has been divided into four phases ending in December 2016.
They are provided Rs12,000 (up to 12th tranche only to NWA), non-food items (one time to all TDPs), hygiene kits to all TDPs, food basket (monthly basis) to all TDPs and polio vaccination to all TDPs.
Moreover, the returning TDPs are provided transport grant of Rs10,000 per family, return cash grant of Rs25,000 per family, housing cash grant (fully damaged house at the rate of Rs400,000 and partially damaged house at the rate of Rs160,000 per house).
In October 2015, the return of TDPs had started from five tribal agencies, including Khyber, South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Kurram and Orakzai agencies simultaneously but it was very slow.
According to officials in the Fata Secretariat, many of the displaced persons and their extended families living in camps are jobless and many children don’t go to schools. At the same time, rations being provided at the camps have been cut down several times and as a result the families are suffering. Also, many TDPs are not equipped to deal with the harsh winter, which is still continuing.
Sources said while the military operation Zarb-e-Azb has been greatly successful, it has to be complemented with the repatriation and successful resettlement of the temporarily displaced persons. “The money for the TDPs should not be delayed due to procedural issues or whatever the reasons,” said the sources.
In this regard, they quoted the official statement after the meeting with the COAS saying the following: “With unflinching resolve and courage, our proud tribesmen of Fata and people of KP stood up to atrocities of the terrorists, pushed them back and marginalised them in the society which deserves the highest of accolades…
after successfully evicting terrorists form their sanctuaries and restoring the writ of the state we are in the most difficult phase of the operation; physically rebuilding the war-damaged areas, resettling IDPs and eventually establishing an administrative system that focuses on the needs and aspirations of the people.”