Altaf demands penalty money from Bahria Town case to use for flood affectees

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Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor has demanded from the government to use Rs 460billion amount slapped over the Bahria Town as fine by the Supreme Court of Pakistan for rehabilitation of the flood affectees.

He said the international community so far has turned the cold shoulder towards reliefs of the millions of the flood affectees and we have to generate resources internally to meet this gigantic task.

The Supreme Court on Thursday accepted Bahria Town Karachi’s Rs460 billion offer for the lands it occupies in the Malir district of Karachi and restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from filing references against it.

He said the Supreme Court in 2019 had accepted an offer by the Bahria Town (Pvt) Limited to settle a case pertaining to its Malir or Karachi Superhighway project in lieu of payment of Rs460 billion. As per the arrangements, Bahria Town Karachi has to pay the entire amount over seven years. He said; however, due to alarming post-flood situation the Bahria Town could be pressed to pay its remaing entire liability in one go and these funds should be utilized on rehabilitation of the flood affectees of Sindh province, as the lands of Sindh province were used in the Bahria Town project.

Altaf Shakoor said that the government has not properly mobilized its resources for rehabilitation of the survivors. He said instead of shifting the survivors to bigger cities like Karachi they should be resettled on safer places near their towns and villages. He said it would greatly save logistics and transportation costs and people would easily go back to their villages as soon as the flood water recedes.

He said now when the rains have stopped all-out resources should be allocated to de-watering operations. He said that heavy duty motors should be used round o clock to de-water flooded villages and farms. He said all blocked natural waterways should be cleared on war-footing basis for swift drainage of accumulated rainwater. He said broken highways, damaged railway lines and collapsed bridges should be repaired and reconstructed on emergency basis utilizing the expertise of Pakistan army engineers.

Altaf Shakoor said crops including the crops of vegetables have been washed away and mega rehabilitation plan for devastated agriculture sector is the need of the hour. He said immediate import of vegetables and other eatables should be ensured to bring down their escalating prices. However, generous agriculture loans on zero interest should be given to farmers and cattle raisers so that they could resume their livelihood as soon as possible.

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