Gulmit/Aliabad/Sost/Gilgit, October 1: A Court in Hunza Valley has issued a “Stay Order”, baring the administration from distributing relief items received from China till October 3.
According to details, a group of people belonging to several village of Gojal Valley had approached a court in Hunza, requesting it to order halting of the relief distribution.
A controversy has been brewing in the region for some time now over the formula for distribution of relief items as well as the exact number of households displaced by the Attabad lake disaster and those affected due to loss of land.
In the previous years – Chinese government has sent essential relief twice in the past, major chunk of the relief items went to the displaced families, who have not only lost their land but also their houses and other vital means of livelihood. Second preference was being given to the families whose houses were intact but their land, cropped fields, orchards and barren land, had been inundated by the water surge caused by the blockade of Hunza River near Attabad, due to a major landslide on January 4, 2010. Third preference was being given to the whole people of Gojal Valley, a population of almost 25,000 people, for distribution of relief items.
This year, however, a group of people questioned the method of relief distribution and also raised doubts about accuracy of the list of IDPs and the number of people affected due to loss of land. The lists were prepared by the Tehsil administration and verified by local institution leadership at that time. There were reports of irregularities in the process leading to the compilation of the final lists. Negative role by a corrupt Tehsil official had been highlighted by the media then.
Raising questions about the veracity of the lists, this group of affected people demanded of the government to distribute the relief items equally among all the residents of Gojal valley, irrespective of whether they were affected directly or indirectly. They argued that the relief items were being sent by the Chinese government for the entire population and no categories should be developed locally.
These demands led to delays in distribution of the relief items, as the government authorities, administration officials and local institutions miserably failed to create consensus, even after several meetings.
As the conflict could not be resolved, a group of indirectly affected people from various villages approached the court yesterday, seeking suspension of the distribution process.
Reacting to the demand of the people, the Court has now directed the administration to halt the relief distribution process till the 3rd day of October and resolve the issue in the meanwhile.
A member of the group that approached the court to obtain the stay order told Pamir Times that the district administration in connivance with some “unscrupulous individuals” has deliberately inflated the lists to pave way for corruption. He said that last year a huge chunk of the relief items was sold by administration officials.
It is pertinent to note that last year too a similar conflict had come to the fore but later on the matter was resolved peacefully and a formula was agreed under which the IDPs received relief for 12 months, people affected due to loss of land for 8 months and the remaining population of Gojal, affected due to suspension of the KKH received relief items for 6 months. There were many reports of misappropriation of relief items, particularly of fuel received in aid.
However, MLA Mutabiat Shah has categorically denied the accusations of corruption and mismanagement. In a statement released a couple of days back, he had said, without naming anyone, that some PMLN workers were trying to create controversies and conflicts in the region.