KP CM agrees to master plan of New Balakot City

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PESHAWAR : Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan Thursday agreed in principle to the proposed master plan for the completion of the New Balakot City project and directed the authorities to redress the legitimate concerns of the earthquake affectees of the old Balakot city.

He further directed that the restoration of the confidence of earthquake affectees should be the first priority in the overall plan of the project.

He was presiding over a high level meeting regarding New Balakot City Development Projects (NBCDP) here in Chief Minister’s Secretariat. Beside, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Lt. Gen. Akhtar Nawaz, Commissioner Hazara Riaz Mahsood, Administrative Secretaries of concerned provincial departments, Director General ERRA, Director General PERRA, Chief Engineer New Balakot City Project, concerned consultants and other relevant high ups also attended the meeting.

The meeting made a threadbare discussion on the progress made so far on the project, reasons for the delay in the implementation of the project, proposed feasibility study, detailed design, master plan and other related matters to complete this project.

The chief minister said that the main objective was to compensate the victims of old Balakot city and to fulfill the promises made by the government to the victims in this regard. He stressed the need to move forward in consultation with the victims and providing relief to them as soon as possible.

The chair decided to constitute a committee headed by Commissioner Hazara which will come up with workable proposals and way forward after consultation with the affectees of 2005 earthquake within the next fifteen days.

In light of the recommendations of the committee, final plan would be submitted to Prime Minister for approval. Other members of the committee include secretary communication & works and representatives of ERRA, PERRA, NESPAK, NDMA and other concerned agencies.

Mahmood Khan said that the said project has already been delayed a lot so there was no space for any further delay in the completion of this sixteen years old project.

The Chief Minister directed the committee to clearly define the responsibilities of all the concerned agencies and departments for the implementation of the project and formulate realistic timelines for each and every developmental activity to be carried out under the plan so that this long standing project could be completed expeditiously.

He said that the provincial government was committed to take the project to the ground and to fulfill the promises made to the victims in its current tenure adding that all the stakeholders needed to fulfill their responsibilities well in time to this effect.

Earlier, the forum was briefed in details about the feasibility study and the proposed master plan of the project. The forum was informed that New Balakot City Project was being established at Bakriyal village, district Mansehra which is situated at the distance of 1.6 km from newly built Hazara Motorway.

The project has been divided in different sectors out of which development of two sectors has been completed.

They told that according to the proposed master plan, New Balakot City is being established over an area of 8440 kanal of land adding that 6753 residential plots would be developed out of which 4273 residential plots have been reserved for the victims of old Balakot city while 700 plots have been reserved for the locals of Bakriyal. These plots would be handed over to the victims free of cost. Besides, 575 commercial plots would also be developed.

The authorities told that the land required for the projects has been acquired and payment to 90 percent land owners have been made. The total estimated cost of the project was about Rs. 15.00 billion.