Over Rs18bn paid to tribals for damaged properties

Updated May 20, 2019

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Thousands still await compensation as in some areas claims are yet to be validated. — AFP/File
Thousands still await compensation as in some areas claims are yet to be validated. — AFP/File

PESHAWAR: Compensation amounting millions of rupees has been distributed among the people whose properties were destroyed in the five tribal districts in former Fata during years of conflict while thousands of other families await validation of their claims.

Under Citizen Losses Compensation Programme (CLCP), of the total 111,824 houses damaged in conflict in the tribal districts, about 72,000 have been verified by the official steering committees in these five districts. Survey for verification and validation of the damaged properties is still in progress in the affected districts.

Cheques amounting to Rs18.4 billion have been distributed among the affected people according to a CLCP release. The remaining 39,582 claims have yet to be validated for possible compensation. Request for Rs1.094 billion has been forwarded to the provincial finance department for further release to deputy commissioners of the respective tribal districts.

Thousands still await compensation as in some areas claims are yet to be validated

The offensives against militants resulted in mass demolition of houses and commercial properties in the five tribal districts. Damaged business properties have not been included in the CLCP survey. Unverified reports suggest demolition of 15,000 shops in Mirali and Miramshah alone.

Federal government has launched separate venture under the banner of economic revitalisation programme fund to pay cash grant to small entrepreneurs in the militancy-affected areas for their losses. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Relief, Rehabilitation and Settlement Department is now overseeing compensation programme and reconstruction activities after merger of former Fata with the province.

An official said that majority of the houses in the conflict hit areas, which were made of mud-stones, were damaged due to disuse and lack of maintenance as the residents had abandoned the structures eight years ago.

Officials said that 83,125 cases of fully damaged and 28,699 cases of partially damaged houses were reported from those five districts. South Waziristan’s Mehsud tribe dominated area topped the list and total 70,270 tentative and unverified cases have been reported so far from there.

The district steering committee has verified only 32,696 cases for compensation in South Waziristan and Rs7.95 billion has been paid to the households through cheques. In North Waziristan, Rs3.16 billion has been paid for 4,902 fully damaged and 7,515 partially damaged houses. Compensation has been made to households in other three tribal districts after verification.

CLCP, a federal government-funded initiative, was launched in five tribal districts — South Waziristan, North Waziristan, Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram in 2015. Millions of civilians were evacuated to flush out militants from the region in the wake of military operations.

The government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif approved Rs400,000 for fully damaged house and Rs160,000 compensation for partially damaged house. The government had set up Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Unit (RRU) to quickly dispose of compensation cases. Despite that the process is going very slow and thousands of affected families have yet to receive compensation apparently due to lengthy verification process.

Officials attributed delay in payment of compensation amount to disputes over damaged properties among households. They said that some areas despite being de-notified as conflict zones had yet to be opened for surveyors.

“The department cannot fix deadline for completion of survey of damaged houses because some areas have yet to be opened for surveyors for verification of claims by the households,” said the official.

He said that the survey of damaged houses encountered problems in various areas of North and South Waziristan where one damaged house was claimed by more than seven owners.

“We have been receiving claims for one damaged house by more than seven owners in North and South Waziristan that cause delay in verification of cases,” said the official.

He said that 3,000 CLCP survey forms were approved for Khyber tribal district last week and over 5,000 for North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal districts after receiving fresh cases. He said that steering committees were reporting verified cases on daily basis in those districts.

Meanwhile, the provincial government had approved upgraded version of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the CLCP survey forms to make the process more authentic and transparent. The cases surveyed and approved before the caseload shall continue to be decided under the previous SOPs or arrangements, as the case may be.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2019