The State Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Agency secretary said that about 1,200 projects of rehabilitation and reconstruction in the AJK areas affected due October 8, 2005 earthquake could not be completed because of funds paucity.

However, he added, the government had would complete these projects in the next one and half years. The remaining 30 percent of the reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the quake affected areas would complete by the end of 2014 with prime focus to revive the socio-economic condition of the population, he said.

As a result of financial assistance and support by the government of Pakistan, 70 percent reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the quake-hit AJK zone comprising five districts has completed, according to the official. The authorities claimed that Rs68.346 billion was required for completion of the plan to bring the life back to pre-October 8, 2005 era in the affected zone as was estimated by ERRA and the SERA.  About Rs.  30  billion have so far been spent for reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.

The disaster had also hit various adjoining parts of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province besides the Indian-held Kashmir. Soon after the deadly catastrophe, the government of Pakistan had chalked out a rehabilitation plan worth billions of rupees to bring the life back to normalcy.

The plan excludes the rehabilitation projects financially sponsored and executed so far by several foreign donors and countries as well as non-profit organisations who completed their respective development projects in the quake-hit areas.

“The deadly catastrophe had rocked AJK’s five districts of Muzaffarabad, Neelam Valley, Bagh, Ralakot and Sudhanoti. A total of 7,984 development projects of reconstruction and rehabilitation were designed soon after the earthquake. However, 4,694 projects have been completed and whereas construction work on about 2100 projects is going on,” according to the SERRA secretary.

October 8, 2005 will always be remembered as a tragic day in the history of Azad Jammu Kashmir and some adjoining parts of Indian-held Kashmir and the NWFP province of Pakistan when only in AJK, according to the official figures, a total of 45,432 people lost their precious lives and 32,212 others sustained serious injuries while thousands of people became handicapped.

Entire Pakistani nation, government and the international community fully helped the victims in their hours of grief. Besides the Pak Army, various global organisation including International Organisation for Migration, USAID, Mercy Corps, ICMC, UNDP, UN Habitat and other donor and relief agencies exercised marvelous and massive relief efforts for the survival of maximum number of the victims.

Although one could not doubt in the sincerity of the governments of Pakistan and AJK and other concerned authorities in completely restoring life in the earth quake hit areas of AJK, it is the need of hour for the government to focus for completion of the reconstruction and rehabilitation process within the stipulated time frame by the end of 2014.