80 per cent reconstruction to be completed by 2009: Musharraf
8 October 2006
The Pakistan Tribune
Muzaffarabad: Reaffirming his commitment to rebuild Kashmir on modern lines, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Sunday said that steps would be taken for the reconstruction and development of the state adding the process of development would be completed during the tenure of the current government. He said that 80 per cent reconstruction and development work in the affected areas would be completed by 2009 and work on mega projects would continue till 2010. He expressed these views at a memorial ceremony held in connection with October 8, 2005, devastating earthquake that left thousands of people dead and millions more rendered homeless. The President said, ?resource centers would be set up in the quake-hit areas to impart skills to the affectees. About 12000 master trainers and 75000 skill men have completed their training and the process is smoothly underway?. He said adding that the institutions would be strengthen to help get people jobs and earn their livelihood. The president said that relief was being provided to the affected people under the head of loans. The government, he said, had decided to write off the loans of small farmers, peasants and those who had applied for loans to the housing building for construction of their homes. Musharraf vowed that the people of the affected areas would be assisted till completion of the ongoing development projects and warned stern action against the corrupt elements. Musharraf said he came to Muzaffarabad the day after last year's earthquake and was 'stunned to see the devastation.' He praised courage and resilience of the people who faced the calamity. It was the largest relief operation in the history of the country and people from Karachi to Khyber played their role in it, president said. President Musharraf praised the massive relief efforts, led by Pakistan?s military that sprang into action immediately after the quake to rescue people from the rubble, provide relief and begin a large-scale reconstruction program. He also thanked the international community and all the countries who helped Pakistan. ?It is a victory for the government, for the army, for the people, for the non-governmental organizations and for the world that supported it, Musharraf said. ?It was due to the help and generosity of the whole world and the NGOs that we were able to improve the situation. Musharraf also urged people affected by the quake to be patient and promised that his government was working to improve their lives. He said during the relief effort one million tents and Rs. 20 billion were distributed among the victims. He said master plans had been made for reconstruction of devastated cities of Balakot, Muzaffarabad, Bagh and Rawlakot. 'I praise your courage and resilience. We will always be with you. Those who died cannot be brought back, but I assure you that we will give you a better life,' Musharraf told a crowd of more than 1,000 people. 'I also thank the international community and all the countries who helped us.' Musharraf also called for a resolution of the decades old row with neighbouring India over the disputed Kashmir. 'Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan and we would inshallah move towards a solution,' he said.