PASNI, Feb. 12: President Gen Pervaiz Musharraf on Saturday announced Rs100,000 for each bereaved family affected by rains and flash floods in Balochistan. He also announced that interest-free, long-term loans would also be given to the marooned people so that they could restart their lives.
He was addressing flood-affected people who had gathered at the Pasni airport during his visit to parts of the province.
The president said that the victims were in immediate need of tents, medicines, blankets, foodstuff. He said the relief operation immediately initiated in the areas would be further expedited.
Gen Musharraf said he personally made an air survey to the affected parts of Balochistan to assess the damage himself. He said he felt very sad after witnessing the devastation caused by rains and flash floods. He said the rains had caused heavy monetary losses to the people whose crops had been destroyed, homes washed away, belongings damaged and cattle swept away or perished.
He said a detailed survey would be undertaken in a few days to assess the exact losses of the people and then the victims would be compensated accordingly and justly and it would be ensured that compensation reached to the true victims at their doorsteps and it was not misappropriated in midway.
He said the Agriculture Development Bank had been ordered to sanction interest-free, long-term soft loans to the affected people so that they could overcome this tragedy and start rebuilding their lives again.
He said the Gwadar area had been hit by flash floods while areas around Pasni had been hit when the Shadi Khor dam, which had been recently constructed, could not withstand the massive pressure of the rainwater and gave way, flooding many areas and affecting a large number of people living in many small villages downstream.
He said the dam, which had been constructed only recently, had been completely filled and it had enough water to meet requirements of the Pasni town for four years, but unfortunately it broke down. The reasons for the dam-break, including its construction quality, would also be thoroughly investigated.
He said the armed forces - navy, army and air force - had responded immediately and started relief and rescue work in the affected areas. He said the Balochsitan province was already a very under-developed area and majority of its people were very poor and it was unfortunate that they had to suffer such a huge devastation also. He, however, held out an assurance that the government would help the affected people overcome their losses.
Gen Musharraf said that the government was implementing various mega development projects involving billions of rupees in the province and within a few years when these projects were complete, the people of the area would witness their economic conditions improving.
He said the foreign investment was coming in the province and the local population should not have suspicions or fear from it as when the businesses would start functioning, the living standard of the area people would definitely improve with increased economic activity in the region which would in turn provide jobs.
He said Balochs were great people and true patriots and urged the people not to be misled by some so-called leaders who were instigating them against law-enforcement agencies.
He said these leaders had intentionally kept the people illiterate so that the people would not only remain poor and illiterate but would not raise their voices against atrocities of these tribal leaders against their own people.
He assured the people that nobody was coming to occupy or take control of the Baloch lands. He said businessmen would only come, invest their money, do business and earn money and in the process the Baloch people would get jobs. The land would remain here and not go with the investors, the president observed.
He said that the Gwadar Port, Mirani Dam , Coastal Highway, communication network, infrastructure were all multi-billion-rupee projects that would improve the economy of the province within a few years.
Earlier, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Yousuf told journalists that it was difficult to asses human or monetary losses instantly, but around 40 to 45 people had died and between 2,000 and 3,000 houses had been damaged, while crops had been destroyed and cattle killed.
He said water supply lines had been damaged, some electricity towers had been knocked out, and coastal highway had been washed away at some places by rainwater and flash floods.
He said the reconstruction work would start soon and hopefully it would be completed in the shortest possible time.