DERA GHAZI KHAN: Over a thousand flood victims in Dera Ghazi Khan protested against the district administration and the government for not receiving Watan Cards on Monday.
Flood victims from Taunsa areas Bhinbhan, Beat Ladha, Nitkani, Kabhad Wala, Hoot Wala, Chunad, Chandia, Kakar and Dow Shumali gathered to protest against the authorities for being denied Watan Cards. Most locals said that the government had failed to deploy survey teams in their villages and others said that the survey officials had demanded bribes from both individuals and village elders for merely acknowledging that a village had even been affected by the floods. “Two survey officers came to our village in Hoot Wala and said that we should pay them Rs60,000 just to have the village registered as an affected zone,” said Haroon Yahya, a village elder.
The flood victims wore shrouds and protested against the Dera Ghazi Khan deputy district officer revenue (DDOR), Nadra officials, DG Khan commissioner and the provincial government.
The villagers also surrounded the DDOR office and said that the DDOR had distributed all their relief goods among political supporters with the support of parliamentarians.
“These are the people responsible for distributing aid among the affected people and instead they have been distributing relief goods between themselves,” said Khalid Shah Kakri, from Bhinbhan.
The protestors said that the district coordination officer (DCO) and commissioner were all acting upon the instructions of politicians so that the latter could save their seats. “If the politicians cared for us they might share some of their own wealth with the flood victims,’ said protester Khuda Bukhsh. Buksh also said that provincial assembly member Muhammad Buzdar had been given 1,000 tents and truckloads of relief goods by former DDOR relief-in-charge as a political bribe. “We saw the trucks of relief goods come in and we waited for a day standing in line for the goods to be delivered but they never were,” Buksh said.
The protestors said that many of the relief goods had been deployed to MPA Buzdar’s constituency in PP-241, even though the area had not been damaged by the floods. “For 100,000 flood affected people 2,000 tents were distributed in our areas and in the MPA’s constituency a dozen affectees received 1,000 tents and a dozen trucks packed with relief goods,” Saleem Tariq, another protestor said.
The protestors said that a judicial commission should be formed in this regard and asked that their statements should be recorded. The protesters surrounded the DDOR office for over nine hours. DCO Iftikhar Sahu said that a survey was underway in the area and would be completed by October 10. “Nearly 7,000 affectees have been issued Watan Cards and we are still working to help others,” Sahu said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2010.
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