ISLAMABAD - Ministry of States and Frontier Region (SAFRON) has sought additional Rs1.4 billion from federal government as relief package for Internally Displaced Person (IDPs) as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab governments have stopped the monthly allowances they had pledged respectively earlier.
The SAFRON ministry has so far spent Rs5.2 billion on relief operation, including provision of food, shelter and rental accommodation to the displaced people who have fled North Waziristan due to the military operation.
According to SAFRON, more than 900,000 people have left North Waziristan in the wake of military offensive against militants who have been temporarily residing in different parts of the province with the major bulk taking refuge in Bannu district.
Additional Secretary SAFRON Tariq Hayat confirmed to The Nation that both Punjab and KP governments have stopped the monthly disbursements of money pledged for the displaced people.
He said formal request had been made to the prime minister for sanctioning additional Rs1.4 billion in order to continue relief assistance in the IDPs hosting areas. The extra money will jack up the total financial package of IDPs to Rs6.6 billion by federal government.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and Punjab government, according to officials involved in helping IDPs, continued the monthly assistance package for three months and then stopped releasing money.
The KP government had launched ‘Esaar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Programme’ for assistance and welfare of displaced persons of North Waziristan in July that continued until October. Under the ‘Esaar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Programme,’ each of the IDPs family had been provided Rs3, 500 for monthly house rent. Besides, payment of Rs5, 000 to each of the displaced families under Ramazan package was also given. Around 7,000 families benefited from the financial assistance by KP government under the welfare programme for IDPs. The Punjab government also has stopped the monthly sustenance allowance to IDPs it had announced in July for helping the displaced people.
According to officials, the Punjab government too disbursed Rs7, 000 as monthly financial package to IDPs for three months; however, the package was discontinued in October for reasons best known to the provincial government.
The officials in SAFRON ministry said that the additional fund allocation of Rs1.2 billion had been requested in order to continue relief activities and to encourage IDPs stay in the hosting areas. Ministry of SAFRON through Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) distributes Rs12, 000 monthly among each IDP family as house allowance besides distributing package of essential commodities.
The officials said that local philanthropists continued to assist the displaced people while international organizations and different UN agencies were helping local administration in capacity building in order to enable them properly tackle the challenge of tens of thousand of IDPs.