GILGIT: The people affected by Diamer Bhasha Dam project staged a protest here on Thursday and demanded of the government to make immediate arrangements for their resettlement.

The protesters alleged that officials of Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) were creating misunderstandings between the government and the affected people.

Holding placards inscribed their demands, the protesters gathered outside Gilgit Press Club and chanted slogans against Wapda and government.

Later addressing a press conference, Diamer Bhasha Dam affected people committee president Ataullah said that federal government had promised in 2010 to set up three model villages in Diamer to resettle the affected people. He said that Rs1 billion had been approved for the model villages.

He said that Wada was tasked to establish the model villages.

Ataullah said that Wapda completed nearly 70 per cent work of one model village but then stopped work. He said that it created uncertainty among the affected people.

Dilbar Khan, another representative of the affected people, said it was a conspiracy against the dam project. He said that Wapda officials were responsible for it.

Mr Khan said that the attitude of Wapda chief in Diamer was also insulting. He said so far 90 per cent payment was made to owners of the land, acquired for the dam project. However, he said that the issue of resettlement of the affected people was ignored.

The affected people said that they were concerned about their future. They said that both the Gilgit-Baltistan and federal governments were not serious to resolve the issue.

They demanded of the government to fulfil its commitment with them and set up three model villages for their resettlement in Diamer.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018

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