MIRPUR (AJK) - Accepting the long-standing demand of the “victims” of the Mangla Dam expansion project, the government has inked a project of about Rs25 billion for their rehabilitation, said the commissioner of the Mangla Dam Resettlement Organisation on Thrusday.

During a press conference on Thursday, Fayaz Ali Abbasi said that since the government had principally agreed to accommodate the families for their rehabilitation in the wake of over Rs 97.55 billion Mangla Dam project.

To a question, the commissioner declared that since the number of applicants claiming to be the victims was considered to be excessive, the MDRO will strive hard to reduce the size as a result of the ongoing detailed scrutiny through an absolutely transparent manner. The MDRO commissioner said that about 8,030 such families are likely to be facilitated with residential facilities. He pointed out that since the Mangla Dam Resettlement Organisation had gathered the data of a total of 8,030 families by 2008, the MDRO is currently engaged in making the detailed scrutiny of the applicants.

“The project involves the purchase of private land at the selected site worth Rs6 billion besides the development work worth Rs10 billion,” he stated and added that the project was expected to be completed by the end of year 2017. Rest of the amount of Rs9 billion of the project is proposed to be disbursed in shape of compensation to the affectees for construction of their houses.

Elaborating the salient features of the Mangla Dam project, Fayaz said that the overall actual raising of the dam was made by 30 feet whereas the level of the reservoir was raised by 40 feet. The commissioner pointed out that besides a total of 16,047 acres of land, 9,640 residential houses were affected due to the project. The project was launched with the formal ground breaking on September 30, 2002. But the formal construction works on the project started later in 2004.

He said that allotment of residential plots to all the displaced families have so far been completed at the new abodes including New Mirpur City, as well as four small towns including Islamgarh, Chakswari, Dadyal and Siakh. Declaring the breakup of rehabilitation plan, the commissioner said that a total of 10,360 residential plots were carved in the residential locations including 4,753, 1,470, 2,221, 1,532 and 384 respectively in New Mirpur City, Islamgarh, Chakswari, Dadyal and Siakh, the MDRO has given the possession to them.

He pointed out that the possession of rest of 1,088 plots including 464 in new city, 170 in Islamgarh, 429 in Chakswari and 25 in Dadyal are yet to be handed over to the affectees in the district. The MDRO commissioner was flanked by Joint Commissioner Raja Fazalur Rehman Khan, Director Works Asif Mahmood, Muhammad Maalik and other senior officials.