Housing compensation scheme Fata flood victims out in the cold
PESHAWAR, Aug 15: Thousands of tribal area families have suffered as the federal government’s housing compensation programme for the people affected by floods in 2010 doesn’t cover their region, according to officials.
The federal authorities concerned have been giving a cold shoulder to tribesmen whose houses were destroyed by floods, an official told Dawn on Wednesday.
“They say Fata houses do not qualify for the compensation under the Watan Card Scheme,” he said.
The federal government has distributed more than Rs32 billion under the foreign-funded Citizen Damage Compensation Programme, compensating hundreds of thousands across the country for damage to their houses.
However, the scheme has not been extended to Fata leaving out around 5,900 families, which saw damage to their houses during the 2010 flashfloods.
An official said the Fata Disaster Management Authority and Fata Secretariat raised the matter at various federal forums, but to no avail.
“They (federal authorities) say Fata families lost houses to rains and not to the floods, therefore, they are not eligible to receive funds under the housing compensation programme,” said the official.
He said FDMA had been forwarding a counter argument to the federal government’s stand without eliciting a positive response.
Officials said FDMA had been requesting them that tribal people lost houses to torrential rains which caused floods in many
places in the settled parts of the country and therefore, they should be treated like the calamity victims from Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Punjab.
Some 875 tribal families lost houses to rains, including 194 in Mohmand agency, 121 in Bajaur agency, and 437 in Frontier Regions Peshawar. Their houses have been categorised as ‘completely damaged houses’ in ‘damage needs assessment’ (DNA)
conducted shortly after rains wreaked havoc with public and private properties in Fata.
Besides, a total of 5029 houses were also founded to be partially damaged, including 3115 houses in Bajaur Agency, 293 in Kurram Agency, 188 in Frontier Regions Bannu, and 368 in FR Kohat.
Families who suffered completely damaged houses are being paid Rs300,000 each and Rs100,000 to each of the families who suffered partial damages to their houses. The government has so far distributed over Rs7.7 billion in Sindh, over Rs13 billion in
Punjab, and over Rs10 billion in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as housing compensation.
The FDMA official said the total housing losses suffered by people in Fata and their compensation requirements came to slightly over Rs765 million, which, he added, was a peanut in comparison with the compensation money distributed so far across the
country under the Watan Card Scheme.
“The federal authorities always met out an unfair treatment to Fata, their refusal to acknowledge the housing compensation needs of the tribesmen is a clear indication of the same,” said an official.
The DNA, based on information collected by various departments of the Fata Secretariat, put the agriculture sector losses because of torrential rains in summer 2010 at Rs3.2 billion, roads at Rs1.1 billion, livestock at Rs1.1 billion, irrigation at Rs400
million, bridges at Rs201 million, and energy sector at Rs307 million.
Some 88 people in Fata were killed due to rains in 2010. According to DNA, the human loss compensation for Fata had been calculated at Rs30.85 million.
According to FDMA official, the authority will move Governor Masood Kausar to take up the matter of housing subsidy for Fata people with the relevant federal government authorities.
“FDMA is scheduled to give a presentation to the governor through which he will also be apprised about the issue, moving him to take it up with the federal government for the benefit of the tribal people,” said an official concerned.
He said the affected families had been lodging complaints in a hope to get their voice heard, but the federal government was not ready to acknowledge them as the legitimate victims because they suffered due to rains and not because of floods.