Slow pace of funds release for TDPs rehabilitation
The government is yet to release Rs53.7billion for the rehabilitation process to complete.
After the conduct of a successful operation against terrorists in tribal areas, it was decided that the TDPs would be allowed to go back to their native towns after verification by the National Database and registration Authority (Nadra). The government had announced to provide Rs10,000 as travel allowance and Rs25,000 for other domestic expenses to returning people. They would also be given Rs. 400,000 if their house was completely damaged and Rs. 160,000 in case of partial damages in the wake of fighting.
A report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says that around 105,744 houses were destroyed during unrest in the tribal region. It adds that about 70,000 houses were completely demolished, whereas nearly 40,000 houses were damaged partially. Most of the destruction was recorded in North and South Waziristan, where more than 50,000 houses were destroyed. The report states that Rs32 billion were required for the reconstruction of these houses.
Sources say that the federal government has so far released only Rs5 billion for the reconstruction, while more than 60 percent TDPs have returned to their native areas, and the remaining 40 percent are to be sent back to their homes, as per the directives of the army chief, within next six months i.e. December 2016.
The government has been repeatedly reminded, says sources, to release the remaining Rs27 billion for it adds further misery to the ordeal of these TDPs when they see their ancestral homes destroyed after returning to their native areas, having endured the hardships of life at TDP camps for months. “It is also provoking hatred against the government.”
The UNDP report states that in last 15 years more than 2 million people were forced to migrate from tribal areas that included 70 percent of women and children.
Sources also expressed apprehensions that apart from damage to houses in the area, there have been severe losses to the infrastructure during the military operation and government had estimated the cost of restoration of infrastructure to be Rs30 billion.
It had stated that the estimated amount would be released between 2014 to 2017 in three phases. By that measure, the government was supposed to issue Rs14 billion by now, but the reality on ground is that only Rs5 billion funds have been released to the date.
The UNDP states that 5000 schools, 2500 hospitals, 1000 water schemes, 2500 electrical projects, 4500 km roads, 2600 irrigation projects, 1700 livestock and approximately 6000 governance projects need to be rebuilt and developed in the region.
Sources further said these tribal people rendered sacrifices for security and peace in country, and even left their ancestral homes along with their families.
Now, when these TDPs are looking to return to their origin, it is the responsibility of the state to send them back with respect and honor, and to take due care of their rehabilitation.