By Shabbir Mir
GILGIT: Upon his arrival at Ghanche Valley on Thursday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced compensation for the families stricken by floods across Gilgit-Baltistan.
At a gathering attended by the affected families and party workers, the PM said Rs500,000 would be given to the families who lost their relatives in the floods while Rs150,000 would be given to those who were injured during the calamity.
The floods that were triggered by monsoon rains and glacier meltdown wreaked havoc in the region, killing at least five people and displacing hundreds of others.
“I’m here to see the destruction caused by the floods,” said Nawaz. “I wouldn’t have the first-hand knowledge had I stayed back in Islamabad.”
Moreover, the prime minister announced Rs500 million for rehabilitation and development work in Ghanche Valley, which is the region’s hardest hit.
Besides funds for the alley and injured persons, Nawaz also announced an amount to compensate those who suffered losses of properties. A sum of Rs250,000 was announced for those whose houses got damaged or destroyed in the floods and Rs15,000 to Rs50,000 for those whose cattle was killed or swept away by the water current. The rates would be applicable for all affected areas.
While addressing the people, the PM also spoke about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, saying the fruits of the project would reach each and every household through which the proposed project will pass. He added the Jaglot-Skardu project would be extended up to Ghanche valley to ensure better transportation facility for locals in the valley where crime rate is close to zero.
The prime minister asked G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rahman to leave no stone unturned in boosting tourism in the region. “Make all-out efforts, my support is with you,” he said before lauding the chief minister for his commitment with the party and people of the region.
Nawaz was earlier briefed about the damages caused by the floods besides ways to counter such disasters in the future. He was also briefed about the tourism influx this summer, which is believed to have surpassed the record of at least past one decade.
“I’ve been told there were no vacant rooms in hotels and tourists stayed in mosques and parks,” said the premier, adding the fate of G-B would be completely transformed in the next five years.
A word for Hafeez
The prime minister hailed the steadfastness of the chief minister, who remained committed with the party while almost the entire G-B party leadership defected to Musharraf’s PML-Q.
“This man doesn’t change positions. He is where he was previously. Such people are trustworthy.”
The gathering was also addressed by CM Rahman and Governor Barjees Tahir.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2015.