MANSEHRA: The residents of Darband area on Thursday protested against the health department for not posting doctors and other staff members to the local rural health centre.

“The health centre has long been run by a medical technician and a low-grade employee in the absence of doctors and other staff members and surgical equipment and machines,” nazim of the Darband neighbourhood council Habib Sakhi told protesters here.

The protesters, including patients, gathered outside the hospital in Darband and shouted slogans against the government over failure to appoint staff members, including doctors, paramedics and technicians.

M Sakhi said the hospital was shifted to the new building four months ago but the 54-room building still didn’t have any facility.

“Five posts of doctors and paramedics and many of technicians have long been lying vacant,” he said.

The nazim said he had taken up the matter with the high-ups of health department and local lawmakers, but to no avail.

President of the traders body Fareed Gul said if the government didn’t fill vacancies within a week, they would block the Oghi-Mansehra Road for an indefinite period.

“This health centre was put up at a cost of Rs50 million. The patients have been going to other parts of Hazara division exposing the PTI’s claim of overhauling the health system,” he said.

The protesters dispersed peacefully after being persuaded by local SHO Arshad Khan.

REFUGEE DATA: The district administration has begun collecting the data of Afghan refugees settled around the sites of projects being executed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

They will be shifted to refugee camps in the district.

“We will relocate around 1,100 families settled in Barari, Sheikhabad and Ichrian camps to five-marla Khaki scheme as part of security plan,” district administrator of the Commissionerate Afghan Refugees Naeem Shahzad Khan said on Thursday.

He said the patwaris of 34 Patwar Circles had begun the survey of Afghan families settled in urban parts of the district for the safety of CPEC projects. The same survey was recently completed by the Commissionerate Afghan Refugees at camps located near Hazara motorway.

PROTEST THREATENED: The Nazmeen Ittehad on Wednesday warned that the Karakoram Highway would be blocked if letters of appointment weren’t issued to the village and neighbourhood council secretaries in Mansehra district.

Ittehad general secretary Basharat Ali Swati told reporters here that the process to appoint secretaries was held across Hazara division nine months ago before the local government department in other districts issued appointment orders to the successful candidates but such candidates in Mansehra didn’t get the letters.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2019