PM calls meeting on Balakot housing project

Published October 17, 2021
This file photo shows Prime Minister Imran Khan. — Photo:  Imran Khan Instagram
This file photo shows Prime Minister Imran Khan. — Photo: Imran Khan Instagram

MANSEHRA: Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a meeting of all the stakeholders and heads of the relevant departments on October 18 (Monday) in Islamabad to resolve the issue of allotment of plots in the long-delayed New Balakot City housing project.

An official letter issued by the Prime Minister House has directed the National Disaster Management Authority to submit details of the consultative meetings it held with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister, the district administration and the departments concerned on the New Balakot City being developed in Bakrial area to settle the 2005 earthquake survivor families.

Former military ruler Gen retired Pervez Musharraf had performed the groundbreaking of the housing project in 2007 with an initial cost of Rs11 billion. However, the project couldn’t be developed even after 14 years of its foundation. The project’s revised cost has now risen to around Rs15 billion.

Additional deputy commissioner Maqbool Hussain visited Balakot and met with the earthquake survivors, asking them to suspend their ongoing agitation as the premier had called a meeting to discuss the project.

“The government wants to settle the issues concerning the project once and for all, and this is why the prime minister has called the meeting of NDMA and other stakeholders in Islamabad,” Mr Hussain told the locals.

Maulana Qazi Khalilur Rehman, the prayer leader of the central mosque of Balakot, after the meeting with the additional deputy commissioner, told reporters that the prime minister had taken notice of their street agitation and summoned the meeting to address their concerns. He said they were suspending their protest for the time being.

“We are optimistic that the PM will ensure the settlement of this issue once and for all, and allotment of plots to the survivor families will shortly be initiated,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021

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