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Fixing the damage: Prime Minister to visit flood-affected areas in Gilgit-Baltistan

By Shabbir Mir

GILGIT: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit the flood-affected areas of Gilgit-Baltistan to show solidarity with the affected population, G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.

“The prime minister is aware of the colossal losses caused by the floods and will visit the affected areas on July 31,” Rahman said. “Those affected by floods will be compensated by the government.”

The chief minister added PM Nawaz has already asked him to provide a detailed report of the damage caused by the floods.

Collateral damage

Earlier on Tuesday, officials of the CM Secretariat said affected families have been shifted to relief camps.

According to a handout issued on Tuesday, appropriate measures have also been taken to provide basic necessities, including medicines, to the affected population till they are rehabilitated.

“The government will not leave them alone during these trying times,” the handout quoted the chief minister as saying.

Crisis management

Recent floods in G-B have reportedly damaged 42 hydel power stations across the region and resulted in a power breakdown that has affected various parts of the region.

“Baltistan is among the worst-hit areas where 26 powerhouses were damaged,” an official told The Express Tribune. “At least nine power houses in Gilgit have been damaged while seven others have been affected in Diamer.”

Gilgit DC Captain (retd) Rizwan said efforts are being made to deal with the power crisis and the situation will be brought under control.

“The power houses will be functional and electricity will be restored,” he told The Express Tribune.

Moreover, the road leading towards a hydel power project from Naltar Payeen has also been damaged by landslides and floods. A deputy commissioner told The Express Tribune three kilometres of the road need to be reconstructed and machinery for the purpose is on the site.

Road to progress

The regional government has released Rs809 million to the works department to complete development projects which were left incomplete by the previous government.

“This is an attempt to implement the agenda set by the new government and achieve targets set for the first 100 days of its rule,” said an official of the G-B Assembly.

According to insiders, the amount has been released in lump sum and deviates from the previous government’s policy of releasing funds in bits and pieces.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2015.

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