Altaf Hamid Rao;
MIRPUR (AJK): Authorities have informed the international donors agencies and institutions including the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, UNICEF and UNDP experts of the need of performance of their due global responsibilities to bring the life back to the pre-earthquake regime in the devastating Sept. 24 quake-hit Mirpur city of Azad Jammu & Kashmir through launching reconstruction and rehabilitation projects in the destructed area.
This was disclosed by a senior National Rural Support Program of AJK government Attique Ahmed on the eve of the joint news conference addressed by AJK minister Ch. Rukhsar Ahmed and Commissioner Mirpur Division and Relief Commissioner Muhammad Tayyeb here Monday night.
Director General MDA Ch. Ejaz Raza, Chairman Loss Assessment Committee and DC Bhimbher Sardar Khalid Mahmood Kha, DC Mirpur Tahir Mumtaz, Director Administration and DC MDHA Ch. Amjad Iqbal, Divisional Head PID AJK Mirpur Div. Javed Malik and other senior officials of Mirpur Division and District Administration were also present on this occasion.
The NRSP official said that the UNICEF and UNDP experts teams have visited the quake-stricken areas of Mirpur sub division including entire city and much-affected adjoining area of Jatlaan and Khari Sharif to assess the gravity of the critical situation caused by the deadly earthquake that left at least 40 people killed and over 800 injured besides rendering hundreds of thousands of the local population shelter less turning most of the area into rubble following the earthquake of moderate magnitude measuring 5.8 at the Richter scale.
Attique revealed that integrated efforts for the first time in the history have been made through conducting digital survey to assess the material loss caused by the calamity in Mirpur and adjoining quake-hit zone in the light of the decision by the State government. He described it the best composition of the current latest regime of information technology for assessment of the damages.
Addressing the news conference, Mirpur Division Commissioner Muhammad Tayyeb revealed that the Japanese Agency of assessing the colossal losses caused by the national calamities had also been invited to perform to assess the loss besides to suggest future precautionary measures to minimize the losses in case of any future calamity.
The Div. Commissioner made it clear that in the future buildings would be constructed purely under the stipulated building codes. He said that a special wing to approve the designs of the buildings in Mirpur district was being set up in Mirpur Development Authority under the supervision of a highly qualified Structural Engineer. He underlined that seasoned structural Engineer Tanveer Qureshi, currently severing as Superintending Engineer of AJK PWD (PHED Division) Mirpur is being named to head the proposed Building Codes Wing in the MDA.
Muhammad Tayyeb said that since the survey of every damaged building in the quake-hit Mirpur city and adjoining areas was in full swing at present, non of the damaged buildings owners will be allowed to make the reconstruction or any change in design of their buildings till the completion of the ongoing survey process, he added.
Elaborating the so far progress of the relief and rehabilitation process in quake-hit zone, the Divisional Commissioner said that since at least 20 thousand of the residential and commercial buildings were surveyed in the affected area, 1564 buildings were found totally damaged and 4815 other buildings were found damaged partially by Monday – Oct. 7 by the mobile 28 teams of experts engaged in assessment of the loss. The drive to inspect other buildings is in progress to assess the loss, he added.
He said that since initial relief works have almost been completed so far, yet two relief camps – one each at Deputy Commissioner Office Mirpur and at Police Station Afzalpur are still working to meet the need of any affectee.
To a question Muhammad Tayyeb said that reputed international donors are also proposed to be invited to assess the loss for their onward due vibrant role in reconstruction and rehabilitation process.
To another question, the Divisional Commissioner, who was also assigned responsibilities as the Relief Commissioner after Mirpur was declared calamity hit area, said that survey for inspection of all the buildings in quake hit zone in Mirpur will be completed by the end of next week.
He said that the government has been moved with recommendations for the delivery of due relief to the affectees in the light of the stipulated rules and regulations and the criteria determined for the population of the calamity-hit areas.
Addressing the news conference, AJK minister Ch. Rukhsar Ahmed said that since four of the water ways (Rajbah) of the much affected Upper Jhelum Canal have totally been destroyed in the catastrophe, the irrigation system in the affected area of Jatlaan and Khari Shareef in the constituency LA-4 has badly crippled.
Lambasted the Punjab Irrigation Department for trying to resume the upper Jhelum canal allegedly through sub-standard works, the minister said that the provincial irrigation department intended to run the canal through ordinary works through the substandard reconstruction. Rukhsar said that AJK government has informed the Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar of the above alleged nefarious move of the Punjab Irrigation Department.
The AJK minister said that 20-km long Mangla-Jatlaan Road along the Upper Jhelum Canal will not bear the substandard construction – which, he feared, may cause breach in the canal as a result of the sub-standard construction. In this connection, he underlined that the Punjab Irrigation Department was using the pipes of only one feet diameter against the specific pipes of three-feet diameter recommended by Mirpur administration for the irrigation purpose in the area. Rukhsar underlined that due pitching of the upper Jhelum canal is still awaited.
The AJK minister also emphasized the need of immediate reconstruction and rehabilitation of the foot bridge over the canal for movement between the populous area at either side of the canal. Two of the bridges were totally washed away in the earthquake.
Rukhsar said that AJK Prime Minister has been requested to immediately summon the special cabinet meeting to discuss and review the colossal loss caused by the deadly turning the infra-structure into rubble, he underlined.
Director Administration Mangla Dam Housing Authority Ch. Amjad Iqbal highlighted the delivery of relief goods to the affectees by the District Administration so far including 10754 tents, 769 major tents, 256 school tens, 1470 plasting sheets.
He said that since a relief committee headed by Senior Member Board of Revenue of AJK Govt. Fayaz Ali Abbasi has been formed so far, the government was determined to extend every possible due relief to the population of the calamity-hit areas with prime focus to bring the life back to normal to the pre-quake regime, he added. Ends