The Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) was accused on Friday of corruption and misuse of funds.
Addressing a press conference at the Abbottabad Press Club, ERRA Contractors Association President Muhammad Anwar Abbasi said that 4,043 projects worth Rs60 billion were approved for education, health and road communication in Abbottabad, Mansehra, Battagram, Kohistan and Shangla.
However, he said, ERRA has so far released only Rs15 billion, due to which 200,000 students are being forced to study under the sky,
while healthcare facilities have not been restored in many areas.
“They are just deceiving the whole world by claiming that they have completed 95 per cent of the reconstruction work. The fact is that only 10 per cent of the reconstruction work has been completed,” he said.
He appreciated the work of non-governmental organisations, saying that they had completed various project in the earthquake-hit areas, while ERRA was “falsely taking credit for their work”.
He said the chief justice of Peshawar High Court had barred the authority from reconstructing its building in Abbottabad due to its unsatisfactory performance.
“If the authority keeps working like this, they won’t be able to complete the [development] projects even by 2020,” he said.
He accused the ERRA administration of misusing 60 per cent of the funds on their “luxurious” offices and other perks and privileges, adding that the situation in earthquake-hit areas would have been a lot better if the money was spent transparently and properly.
“[ERRA] is yet to release Rs3 billion to the contractors even though they are supposed to pay them within 14 days of completion of projects,” said Abbasi.
He warned that the contractors would protest against the authority in front of the Parliament House if their outstanding bills were not paid “at the earliest”.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2011.