Development funds to be used for relief

Punjab admin says priority is to rehabilitate flood victims

Jamil Mirza/Imran Asghar August 28, 2022
A satellite dish is used to move children through floodwaters in Jaffarabad, Balochistan. PHOTO: AFP


Funds allocated for mega projects in Rawalpindi will now be used for the emergency relief and rehabilitation of flood-affected people of Southern Punjab.

Sources said that the Punjab administration has decided to not only immediately halt all development initiatives within the purview of all provincial departments, including local government and development organisations, but also halt the development of the proposed initiatives.

At present, the priority is being given to the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and the rehabilitation of flood victims. The progress of ongoing development projects for water supply, sewage, road infrastructure, electricity, gas, hospitals, and educational institutions has also been stopped in those districts that are so far safe from flooding. Additionally, the big projects that had been accorded approval and were about to begin construction will not move forward.

Sources said that in Rawalpindi, no progress will be made on the projects of Ring Road, Leh Express, Kachehri Chowk, Defensmce Chowk, Liaquat Bagh, and Murir Chowk.

An official of Rawalpindi Municipal Corporation on the condition of anonymity said that the Punjab government's top priority will now be the rehabilitation of flood victims and the reconstruction of the area's utterly devastated due to floods. Therefore, all local bodies of Punjab, development authorities, WASA, and provincial departments have been formally informed that each provincial department should contribute one day's salary to the flood victims' fund so that the flood affected people receive full support.

A substantial portion of the development funds will now be allocated for them and the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure in their areas.

Floods affect tourism

Due to the torrential rains and flooding, tourist destinations such as Murree and Galiyat are not receiving many tourists, which is why businessmen, hotel owners and transporters are facing serious financial problems.

Talking to The Express Tribune, a hotel owner Haji Saeed Shabri in Galiyat said that many visitors postponed their travel plans due to flooding. For this reason, many places in Murree, Galiyat, and other tourist spots present a deserted look.

Most people visit tourist spots in Islamabad and Rawalpindi and return to their homes in the evening. The hotels in Murree and Galiyat are usually packed with visitors this time of year as people in hot areas visit cool places to escape the heat. However, due to flooding, tourism in these areas is nonexistent at present.

Khalid Yameen, a transporter who provides transport to tourists from Rawalpindi to Islamabad said that the transport companies that provide services for tourism might sustain irreparable losses if the situation persists for an extended period.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2022.


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