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UAE housing project in Pakistan to be inaugurated next month
12-31-2011, 05:58 PM
Post: #1
UAE housing project in Pakistan to be inaugurated next month
UAE housing project in Pakistan to be inaugurated next month

Dubai : Around 40 per cent work on various rehabilitation projects in different earthquake-hit areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Kashmir provinces in Pakistan have been completed and the rest is expected to be finished next year.

Besides, a major project of a model city financed by the UAE in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province would be handed over to people displaced by the 2005 earthquake next month, said Hamid Yar Hiraj, chairman, Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (Erra) in an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today in Dubai on Thursday.

This scribe spoke to him briefly before he left for Pakistan. He shed light on projects being carried out by Erra with the support of international donors, including the UAE, in the earthquake-hit areas of Kashmir and Pakhtunkhwa.

“The Sheikh Khalifa City in Balakot in Mansehra districts is a model city project with all basic civic amenities like health centres, schools, mosques. These have been constructed in collaboration with and technical assistance of Erra. The city will be inaugurated and handed over to the victims of 2005 earthquake next month by Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani,” he said.

The earthquake hit many northern areas of Pakistan in October 2005 leaving thousands of people dead and millions others homeless to face the harsh winter.

Hiraj, who is also a member of National Assembly of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), took charge of Erra at the end of 2009 as its chairman.

“The Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority had identified approximately 7,000 projects for the victims of the earthquake soon after the authority was established.”

“Erra provided technical assistance to various international agencies in constructing houses, roads and hospitals. Work on many projects is still continuing. The 6,980 projects conceived by Erra include houses, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and vocational training centres,” he said.

Hiraj said that some donors who had promised to take part in the rehabilitation process by doing everything themselves from designing to construction showed reluctance.

This problem encouraged the authority to design the projects itself and ask the donor agencies to complete the project.

“This idea worked with many international agencies and they started work on many projects like health-care units, housing, link roads. Many of them were completed in the last couple of years,” he added.

He said that before he assumed the charge of Erra, the authority faced the deficit of Rs7.5 billion, but now it is on the path of stability and now the estimated budget of Erra stands at Rs28 billion.

“Around 2,500 projects worth Rs20 billion have been approved by various international donor agencies and are under-construction and would be complete within the estimated time schedule,” he said.

He appreciated the role of GCC countries, especially the UAE, for the relief of earthquake victims.
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