Peshawar: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government has contradicted a news item published in a section of the press alleging the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt: of delaying completion of the new Balakot city.
In a rebuttal issued Friday, Commissioner Hazara Division Abbottabad, Muhammad Khalid Khan Umerzai has clarified that the entire project area for development of New Balakot City was acquired and handed over by the provincial government to ERRA in 2007 as part of its commitment to the project.
Development work in the entire project area continued smoothly for over two years under the total and sole control of ERRA. During these two years, he added all the responsibilities were handled by ERRA and administration was completely kept out. However, when things got out of control of ERRA on 3rd September 2009, after a dispute arose on allotment of plots and shops between ERRA and some locals resulting in death and injuries to scores of people, the provincial government was called by ERRA to help in resolving the issue.
Upon request of ERRA, the Divisional and District Administration came to the rescue and got the work started in October 2010 after resolving the outstanding issues between ERRA and the locals.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt: even went to the extent for releasing an amount of Rs. 2.400 million as compensation for the victims of 3rd September 2009 incident in order to remove a big hurdle in project implementation after the ERRA showed its inability to arrange the amount.
ERRA also communicated to the Divisional and District Administration that it would now follow “Modular Approach” for implementation of the project and that the administration was required to handover one sector after the other for full development in a step-by-step manner.
Keeping in view the requirement of ERRA, the 1st Sector i.e. Section ”D” comprising Seri area was opened for full development in October 2010 after hectic and fruitful negotiations with the locals. In July 2011, yet another Sector “C” comprising areas of Batang Maira was opened for development and handed over to ERRA.
The opening of new sector for development involves engagement of the locals in intense negotiations, followed by drawing-up of lists of entitled locals for allotment of plots in consultation with their representative committee. These lists are sent to ERRA for printing of allotment certificates. These certificates are then sent to the District Administration to be given to the entitled residents.
In December 2011, after negotiations were held with residents of another two sectors i.e. Sector “E” comprising of village “Dab” and Sector “B” (including parts of sector “A”), ERRA has failed to respond to the request of allocation of plots after lapse of a period of four months. Interestingly, it had also significantly slowed down work on the already opened up sectors C and D, due to unknown reasons.
In the last one and half year time, ERRA has been unable to fully develop even a single sector despite the fact that no land issues are involved and only earthwork is being done for reasons best known to them. Despite requests from the Divisional/District Administration and locals, metaling of the roads and streets and provision of basic facilities is not being done.
Until now there was neither an access road to the project area nor was there any electricity or water supply and it was after numerous requests of the divisional and district administration that ERRA agreed to construct access road and funds have been provided for the purpose recently. Inspite of all these failures of ERRA, 70% of the project area is still open for development.
The divisional and district administration has also achieved breakthrough in negotiations with residents of the only leftover area i.e. sector “A” but the failure of ERRA to allot plots for the last 4 months is hampering the smooth progress. The ERRA has thus left the divisional and district administrations in the lurch and instead blaming the provincial government for its own failures and shortcomings, the Commissioner concluded.
For more information, contact:
Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Tel: 091 921 1789