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Rural reconstruction yet to begin in flood devastated Sindh: Altaf Shakoor

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KARACHI, (Parlaiment Times): Pasban Democratic Party PDP Chairman Altaf Shakoor here Sunday regretted that the flood-hit areas in Sindh still await rural reconstruction process, suggesting that the government of Sindh should establish a rural reconstruction department with an immediate effect.He said Sindh awaits an immediate rural reconstruction process but the government is not providing resources for it and private NGOs, political parties and philanthropists have also lost interest in rehabilitation of the flood affectees.He said millions of the rural affectees need urgent assistance to reconstruct their damaged houses.

They need seed, fertilizer and other agriculture inputs to sow Rabi crops, especially wheat. He said the government of Pakistan, as well as, Sindh has not allocated the required resources to begin the rural rehabilitation and reconstruction process. He said international lenders are not forgiving Pakistani loans in the wake of this huge humanitarian crisis which show the inhuman attitude of these blood sucking leeches. He said the world community has also turned cold shoulder towards the Pakistanis and even our friendly countries are not playing the role of a fast friend to assist the Pakistani nation in this testing time. Altaf Shakoor said that in these dismal circumstances we should focus on community-based efforts to begin the rural reconstruction process. He suggested applying Orangi Pilot Project model in rain-hit villages and towns of Sindh. He said Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) as an NGO began work in Orangi town in 1980. Orangi then was a cluster of 113 low income settlements with a population of 1.5 million.

This initiative started five basic programs of low cost sanitation, housing, health, education and credit for micro enterprise. It is demonstrated through the programs that at the neighborhood level people can finance, manage and maintain facilities like sewerage, water supply, schools, clinics, solid waste disposal and security. Government’s role is to compliment people’s work with larger facilities like trunk sewers and treatment plants, water mains and water, colleges/universities, hospitals, main solid waste disposals and land fill sites.

Altaf Shakoor said that rural reconstruction process models in various countries are there to learn from. He said it is a must the Sindh government should immediately form a rural reconstruction ministry to begin rural reconstruction of the flood-damaged villages in Sindh. He said that without an immediate response regarding rural reconstruction the rehabilitation of the millions of the flood affectees is not possible. Reminding of a Chinese model, Altaf Shakoor said that In China, during the 1920s, Dr. Y.C. James Yen embarked on a grassroots development movement that aimed to include China’s rural peoples in the formal education system. In 1925, Dr. Yen initiated a wave of educational campaigns that improved the literacy of 60 million Chinese peasants. Dr. Yen’s holistic, people-centered approach to rural development became known as rural reconstruction. He also asked the government of Pakistan to provide a special generous grant for starting the rural reconstruction process in Sindh on fast track basis.

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