ISLAMABAD - The construction of new Balakot City would be started from November this year under public-private partnership, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal said on Wednesday.

In a statement, he said the construction of the project, delayed due to coronavirus, would open new avenues of modern living, besides multiplying opportunities to Balakot city inhabitants for economic progress.

NDMA chairman said 11,436 Kanal agriculture and 4,160 Kanal forest land had been allocated for the construction of new Balakot city at Bakrial after the devastation of (old) Balakot city in the earthquake of October 2005. Unfortunately, construction of the project was stopped in 2014 due to land disputes by local land owners. 

He said the former Chief Justice took suo motu notice of delay in the construction of new Balakot City project and constituted a Judicial Commission to probe  the issue. 

Finance Ministry was directed to release Rs 1 billion to Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA) for starting the construction of  project but the amount had not been released. 

ERRA had been directed to submit the amended PC 1 of the project. 

However the new Balakot city could not see light of the day due to economic crisis and cut in budget.

Chairman NDMA Lt Gen Muhammad Afzal presented the concept of constructing  new Balakot City on public private partnership which has the potential to become tourism hub, help promote national and international tourism. The project would help strengthen promoting precious gemstones business.

Some 2,275 plots in the new project have been allocated for quake affectees. 

As many as 4,648 residential plots, a museum for 2005 earthquake, shopping plaza, adventure trail, golf course, school, college and hospital would be constructed.