Flood compensation highest in KP

Flood compensation highest in KP

By Tahir Ali
2nd April, 2012
UNDER the damage compensation programme for citizens, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has so far disbursed the high amount as compared to other provinces.

KP has benefited from its experience in providing relief to affectees in militancy-hit areas.

Out of the total of Rs18.61 billion distributed in the country by March 20 at the rate of Rs20,000 per tranche, KP has distributed Rs8.48 billion, followed by Punjab Rs7.16 billion, Sindh 2.66 billion, AJK Rs0.1 billion, Gilgit Baltistan Rs0.12 billion and Balochistan Rs0.052 million. Total sum allocated for the country is Rs48 billion.

While KP accounts for 46 per cent, Punjab 39 and Sindh 14 per cent of the cash disbursed, the rest of the areas each account for less than one per cent.

KP is ahead of other provinces in the processing of Watan Cards too. Out of a total 0.79mn flood affected people in the country, Watan Cards for 0.72mn have been processed. While in Sindh cards of 0.13mn out of 0.164mn or 84 per cent and in Punjab, 0.31mn of the 0.338mn or 92 per cent have been activated. KP, however, has processed 0.261mn cards off the total 0.276mn or over 94 per cent. Balochistan has processed 3,271 out of the total 3,732 applications.

According to an official of the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), for flood compensation house damage was made a criterion but it was only flood support and not house compensation as given in Malakand as it required an enormous fund which was beyond KP’s resources.

“The strategy was approved in the Council of Common Interest meeting following the floods. While Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan went for blanket coverage of the affected districts, KP could not do so for its limited resources and instead argued for limited payment after verification on the basis of complete or partial damage to houses,” said the official.

Despite remarkable achievements, there are allegations of political based registration of the flood-affected people and corrupt practices. According to allegations, elected peoples’ representatives and political parties gave the lists of their blue-eyed, not necessarily deserving ones. “Some areas which had not been affected by floods were also included in the compensation regime,” he said.

The PDMA official rejected the allegations and said the World Bank’s third party validation had termed it fair and unbiased and that’s the reason that they were able to start the second and the third phase in the province.

“The affected people were selected by a committee in each union council, comprising Patwari, teacher, elected public representative, army personnel (where necessary as in Swat) and local elders. Later, after verification of the data by Nadra, the affectees were given compensation through Watan Card. Later after third party validation by the World Bank on the basis of Phase-I survey, a list of 0.27mn affectees was prepared for the payment of second and third tranches under the CDCP- Phase-II,” he said.

“The government and donors have tried their best to ensure an accurate data, exclusion of the well-off and inclusion of legitimate affected people, but even then if any legitimate affectee has been left out during phase-I and Phase-II, he/she may submit appeal at the Nadra grievances cell at Watan Card nominated centres in each district of KP,” he added.

As far the allegation of registering affectees from areas not affected during floods, the official explained the compensation was not meant only for flood-affected houses but for any house that was damaged during the torrential rains and floods in the last week of July and first week of August, 2010. People have mostly ignored this fact.

Though official data put the number of affected entitled to compensation at 0.789mn and 0.275mn in the country and KP respectively, the IOM worker said actual flood affectees are fewer — around 0.080-0.090mn at the most.

Though the government had earlier resolved to provide Rs0.1mn as floods compensation, it had to slash it to Rs0.06mn later for shortage of funds.

Floods inflicted a loss of around $10bn on Pakistan. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa suffered $1.2 billion losses and required $2.2 billion for the flood reconstruction.

However, foreign donors’ support hasn’t arrived in promised quantities as expected. It seems the issues of transparency, fiscal incompetence, poor planning, donor fatigue and indifference of local leaders to provide their due in donations has kept the world from it.

There are complaints of difficulties in the receipt of money from banks. To offset this, in October 07, 2011, the state bank of Pakistan directed all commercial banks to make special arrangements to ensure that their ATMs were operational and cash was replenished in a timely manner and that no service charges were recovered on the use of Watan Cards.

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About Tahir Ali Khan
I am an academic, freelance columnist, writer and a social worker.

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