Work again halted on CPEC over non payment of compensation by Battagram locals
In protest over non-payment of compensation for their land residents belonging to the Battagram’s Gajborai area have once again halted the construction work on the multi billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
More than 1,000 locals had been affected by the construction of a tunnel which was falling under the CPEC scheme which runs for 60 kilometres from Kas Bridge to Thakoot Bridge.
A CPEC Action Committee which comprises of 25 persons including Anwar Baig, former superintendent of police Riaz Khan, Gul Muhammad tehsil council member, JI provincial deputy general secretary Muhammad Rafique, Taj Nazeer, Molana Attaur Rehman, Niaz Muhammad, Toti Rehman, Rustam Khan and Tehsil Naib Nazim have met with the deputy commissioner and visited a Chinese base camp at Kuzabanda and an Army base camp in the Chapargram area. They asked for further construction work on the CPEC project from Kansai to Chanjal to be stopped by the relevant authorities until their demands were fulfilled.
Jirga member Muhammad Rafiq said that “We were not taken on board, nor were we given a single penny in compensation. The district administration has issued us letters to vacate houses, which will be demolished for coming in the way of the project, but we have nowhere else to live, nor have we been provided tents.”
He added that a month earlier, during a meeting of the jirga with various officials, which included the district administration, National Highway Authority, district nazim and others, the officials had committed that the beginning of the disbursement of compensation would be started before 5th July however they had failed to deliver on their promises.
Riaz Khan, the former superintendent of police said that the affectees had been waiting for the response of the government however their reaction had been “very disappointing.”
Mr Khan added that no one is against the multi-billion dollar project, however the government through its actions was forcing the people to come out onto the streets and oppose the project in order to get their due rights.
The government was criticized by Muhammad Rafique criticised for not following through on its promises, he further noted that although the mega project is a game changer for the people, the delay tactics would raise questions regarding its credibility.
The meeting participants claimed that the area from Kas Pul to Chanjal is a commercial land. They added that the government shall pay compensation which is equivalent to the commercial market value of the land and houses as has been done in other districts of Mansehra, Abbottabad and Haripur.
On early hours of Friday, 7th July 2017, work on the project had been halted, and the Chinese workers had been asked to cease their activities until the demands of the locals were met.
Sardar Haroon the Deputy Commissioner Battagram, said that the deadline had expired, he added that in protest over non-payment of compensation for their land the affectees had stopped construction work on the CPEC project.
The Deputy Commissioner added that negotiations had been underway with the jirga committee, where the affectees, stakeholders, District Nazim Attaur Rehman, the district police officer, NHA collector along with the Chinese officials were present, and that work on the project would resume after the meeting.
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