Hammad Hussain

KHANEWAL

A protest demonstration was held against the government as the victims are still forced to live amidst the floodwater and under the open sky even in cold nights, and the most of them have been denied the compensation announced by the Punjab government.

Hundreds of flood victims, belonging to various villages of Khanewal district, held the protest against non-payment of the compensation announced by the Punjab chief minister after flood hit the region.

The protesters from Basti Diwani Luk which consists of about 40 houses and is situated near “Patan Samadwana” between rivers Ravi and Chenab, alleged that the department concerned had not included them in the compensation list despite their being genuine victims of the flood.

The victims including Dilmir, Razia, Rehma, Ahmed Nawaz and Khizar Hayat said, “Our identification cards are of Khanewal district and votes are also registered in the same district but the administration is misguiding us that only victims from Jhang or Muzaffargarh districts are being compensated.”

They alleged that Sagheer, a local patwari, had demanded Rs3,000 to Rs4,000 from them to include their names in the list. They also said that the administration had violated the rules in disbursement of the compensation of Rs25,000 to the victims each as it had given the compensation to even more than one members of the same family and deprived them of the package.

Families of Muhammad Bakhsh, Allah Yar, Raja, Shaukat and many others are among those families, as per a survey. Criticising the government’s relief efforts, they alleged that the compensation package and relief goods were distributed on political basis. They claimed that these relief goods were sold in the Kabirwala market, particularly at the shop of one Shaikh Liaqat. They said that the district administration had compiled “false statistics of the flood victims, depriving the genuine victims of the relief goods and compensation”.

They said that they had been suffering the shortage of fodder for animals, adding that the administration provided them with substandard fodder. As per a report, 79 villages in the Khanewal district were inundated with ferocious floodwater. The focal person of the district administration, Ishfaq Ahmed, detailed that about 79,743 residents had been evacuated from riverine and low-lying areas.

Denying the victims’ allegations, he said that some people were stranded in the flood-hit areas while 3,412 were rescued and a total of 5,476 people were settled in relief camps. Four centres were established - three in Kabirwala tehsil and one in Mianchanu - for the disbursement of Rs25,000 to the head of each affected family as per directions of the Punjab government. Two persons died due to wall collapse and compensation of 1.6 million was given to their families while Rs 100,000 was given to nine seriously injured persons each, he said.

He added that 4,258 food hampers were also distributed to flood victims. He said that the government was compensating only those whose houses, and cattle dens, were destroyed.