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June 16, 2019

NDMA chairman directs for early completion of New Balakot City project


June 16, 2019

Islamabad : National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Chairman Lieutenant General Muhammad Afzal visited New Balakot City Project to identify the impediments in the project and speed up the process of reconstruction of Balakot City to alleviate the sufferings of earthquake effectees.

Talking to the media persons and local people at the project site, Lt Gen Afzal has said that the aim of this visit was to identify and assess impediments in reconstruction of New Balakot City Project and to implement the Supreme Court orders in letter and spirit while keeping the stringent financial transparency. He directed all stakeholders including ERRA, PERRA and District Administrating Mansehra to take up their responsibilities and complete share of their work.

He further said that all complains and grievances of local residents will be addressed without compromising the actual fate of the project. He said that completion of this project will change the fate of local people and it will further boost tourism in the area.

While answering a question relating to the financial constraints Gen Afzal said, “Financial resources have always been limited, and will remain so, it is the will to do things and management and efficient employment of the resources that matters the most, for which various option can be sorted out. Gen Afzal also said that in next couple of months critical decisions relating to this project will be made and directed that at least two thousand to twenty five hundred plots to be allocated in coming four to six months’ time. In this regards a meeting is called in Islamabad inviting all relevant stakeholders to participate in the meeting.

The official of ERRA and KP government gave detailed briefings to the visit NDMA chairman on New Balakot City Development Project in the light of Supreme Court orders. The new Balakot City Project had face a prolonged delay due to non-availability of encumbrance free land and financial paucity. Chief Justice of Supreme Court had taken Suo Moto on the delay in the project and ordered formation of an Epex Committee comprising of representative from Ministry of Planning and Development, ERRA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Government under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary KP.

The Committee and petitioners formally agreed to an MOU duly approved by CJ Supreme Court according to which the project’s revised cost was set at Rs16 billion and ERRA was tasked to make PC-I and get it approved from ECNIC, while Planning Commission would make Rs1 billion available to ERRA for Financial Year 2018-19. I was also agreed upon that for subsequent years Planning Division and Ministry of Finance will ensure smooth flow of funding for the project, however, promised Rs1 billion could not be released during the current financial year.

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