Mangla Dam affected people continued to protest and stage a sit-in in front of the Office Complex of Mangla Dam Resettlement Organisation for 22nd consecutive day on Monday against Wapda and the AJK government over the latter’s failure in completing their rehabilitation.

The affectees opted for a unique style of protest by offering special prayers for early accomplishment of the commitments made by AJK Prime Minister Abdul Majeed with them regarding their early rehabilitation in line with the agreement reached between the AJK government and Wapda.

The Mangla Dam Affectees Action Committee launched the protest sit-in about three weeks ago against the non-acceptance of their demands including timely and proper rehabilitation of thousands of people displaced due to recent expansion of the Mangla Dam.

At the first leg of their protest movement, dozens of Mangla Dam affectees visited the shrine of Peer Naik Alam (RA), an eminent spiritual leader in the region, where they prayed to Allah Almighty to make bound the AJK rulers for fulfilling the repeated commitments which they made to the displaced affectees who are currently going from pillar to post in search of the accomplishment of their demands about their resettlement.

Started on September 30, 2002, the project was announced to be completed by June 2007. Though the raising of the dam was completed in March last year, the project for rehabilitation of the affectees comprising the construction of New Mirpur city and four small towns, exclusively for housing the displaced affectees, was still incomplete.

Addressing the protesters, speakers including Supreme Head of Mangla Dam Affectees - Young Action Forum’s President Raja Tasleem Anjum, Secretary General Sardar Attique and others announced that at the second leg of the ongoing movement, the affectees would stage a sit-in in front of the Prime Minister House in Mirpur on coming Friday and on Eidul Fitr to press the AJK Prime Minister to fulfill his commitments regarding timely rehabilitation of the affectees besides early acceptance of their charter of demands.

They declared that mammoth anti-government protest rallies will be staged daily in New Mirpur city and small towns. “These mass rallies will be the hallmark of the protest movement,” they declared, adding that the rallies would continue till the government give a timeframe of acceptance of their demands,” they said.

Elaborating the demands, the leaders revealed that the development works in New Mirpur city, a mega under-construction residential sector exclusively meant for the displaced Mangla dam affectees, have not  been completed so far as being claimed by the authorities. “By now even 40 percent of the development work is incomplete in New Mirpur city as being asserted by WAPDA and the AJK government,” they alleged.

They further pointed out that development work in New Mirpur city was stagnant for the last six months. “The affectees are compelled to pass through extremely miserable life. Rather facing the situation of life and death at the new abode, which was badly affected during the recent torrential rains and flash floods in the area,” they observed.

On the other hand, the Mangla Dam Resettlement Organisation is stuck to its stand that it was performing well to facilitate the affectees at new residential locations with determined amenities.

When contacted, an official of the organisation told this scribe with condition of anonymity that since Wapda is primarily bound to complete the construction of rest of the development work, the authorities concerned have been asked to complete the work including allotment to rest of the additional families in New Mirpur city and four small towns to end prevailing anguish and chaos among the affectees.