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MANSEHRA: The local residents on Monday disallowed the start of work on their land in Rajwal area of Kaghan valley for the 840 megawatts Suki Kanari hydropower project, complaining about the ‘meagre’ payments.

The landowners turned workers away as they showed up along with machinery, excavators and power shovels.

They blocked their way, had heated exchanges with workers and their bosses, and forced them into leaving.

Mian Ashraf, chairman of the Tahafiz-i-Haqooq Balakot committee, warned the landowners would offer strong resistance if workers tried to execute project on their lands by force.

Demand market rate for land

“We will never allow work until the government pays us the market rate of our land along with other incentives,” he told reporters.

Mr Ashraf also wondered how the landowners could allow engineers and workers to begin work in Rajwal and other such areas in Kaghan valley, where the government didn’t even impose Section 4 to acquire land for the power project.

He warned that the people from across Kaghan valley and other parts of the region would assemble at the Ayub Bridge in Balakot and block Mansehra-Naran-Jalkhad Road on March 20 if their demands weren’t met.

“We just want market rate for our land and some other incentives in line with the government’s commitments,” he said.

Mr Ashraf said the Tahafiz-i-Haqooq, Balakot, committee had decided not to allow the district administration to acquire land anywhere in the tehsil for not fixing appropriate rate for their land.

The Suki Kanari hydropower project under way on the Kunhar River in Kaghan valley is the major power project being executed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa under the multibillion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor initiative.

ACCIDENT CLAIMS LIFE: A man was killed and four people suffered critical injuries when a car plunged into a deep ravine near Oghi here on Monday.

The accident occurred after the driver lost the car’s control negotiating a sharp turn.

The people shifted the injured people to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced Khadim Hussain dead and referred the others, including Fakhar-i-Alam, Abdul Jalil, Mohammad Amir and Gul Hassan, to the Ayub Medical Complex, Abbottabad, due to critical condition.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2018