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Reasons for delay in New Balakot City Project discussed

PESHAWAR: A meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Thursday discussed the progress made so far on the New Balakot City Development Project, reasons for the delay, proposed feasibility study, detailed design, master plan and other related matters to complete the scheme.

Chairman, National Disaster Management Authority Lt- Gen. Akhtar Nawaz, Hazara Commissioner Riaz Mahsood, administrative secretaries of the relevant provincial departments attended the meeting.

The chief minister agreed to the proposed master plan for the completion of the project. He directed the officials concerned to redress legitimate concerns of the earthquake victims of the old Balakot city and restore their confidence.

He decided to constitute a committee headed by the Hazara commissioner to come up with workable proposals after consulting the affectees of the 2005 earthquake within the next 15 days.

In light of the recommendations of the committee, a final plan would be submitted to the prime minister for approval. Other members of the committee include secretary Communication & Works and representatives of other relevant agencies.

Mahmood Khan said the project had already been delayed a lot so there was no room for any more delay in the completion of this 16 years old project. Earlier, the forum was briefed in details about the feasibility study and the proposed master plan of the project. The forum was informed that the New Balakot City Project was being established at Bakriyal village, in Mansehra district which is located at a distance of 1.6 km from the newly built Hazara Motorway. The project has been divided into different sectors out of which the development of two sectors has been completed.

According to the proposed master plan, New Balakot City is being established over an area of 8,440 kanal of land, adding that 6,753 residential plots would be developed out of which 4,273 residential plots have been reserved for the victims of old Balakot city while 700 plots have been reserved for the residents of Bakriyal.

These plots would be handed over to the victims free of cost. Besides, 575 commercial plots would be developed. The officials said the land needed for the projects had been acquired and payment to 90 per cent of landowners made. The total estimated cost of the project was about Rs 15.00 billion.