ISLAMABAD: The government again promises transparency as it prepares to disburse the first tranche of aid money among millions of flood affected people. However, a ‘deepening’ mistrust between the federal and Punjab authorities continues to persist, casting shadows over official relief endeavors.
While addressing the media, Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the government will start giving an amount of Rs20, 000 per family to over two million survivors from next Friday.
As a first step, he added, the federal government has sought from the provincial authorities a list of areas in various districts which had been declared calamity-hit.
Once the lists are received from all four provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) governments, the money will be given to the affected families.
The minister said the amount was for initial relief, adding that victims will get more money to rebuild their houses and livelihood once the Damage Need Assessment (DNA) was completed by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“Everything will be transparent…through principle and rules. We all should go ahead under a system,” Kaira replied when asked about the Punjab government’s reservations about the transparency in relief activities.
Kaira denied any rift between the federal and provincial governments, arguing the federation was trying to take everybody along. “No parallel survey is being conducted in Punjab,” he remarked.
The minister appeared to be agreeing with a demand by Sharif to hold an inquiry into reports that some influential politicians in Sindh and south Punjab were behind breaches of river bunds to save their lands.
However, he added, providing relief to the disgruntled communities should be the top priority of all. “We can look into allegations later,” he suggested.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 28th, 2010.
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