Council of Common Interests (CCI) on Monday decided that all out effort should be made to start distribution of Rs 20,000 as first tranche of financial assistance among the flood victims before Eidul Fitr in a transparent manner and calamity-hit farmers with less than 25 acre land holding would be provided free of cost seeds and fertilisers before Rabi sowing season.
The council also decided that a 13-member National Oversight Disaster Management Council (NODMC) would oversee the whole process of funds distribution to ensure transparency.This was disclosed by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira while announcing the decision made in the CCI meeting chaired by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.
The meeting was attended by all the four chief ministers, besides Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Chief Minister Gilgit- Baltistan. Federal Ministers Arbab Alamgir Khan, Syed Naveed Qamar, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Qamar Zaman Kaira were also present in the meeting.
Minister for Information said that focus of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) remained on the flood relief and rehabilitation.
Kaira said that the Prime Minister in his opening remarks strongly condemned the recent wave of terrorist activities and renewed the government’s pledge that this war would continue till complete elimination of this menace from Pakistani society. The Prime Minister also expressed his heart felt condolences with the families of the victims of blasts in Lahore, Quetta, Mardan etc.
Qamar Zaman Kaira told that after this the Prime Minister updated the participants of the meeting over ongoing flood rescue and relief activities. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health gave detailed briefing over the situation.
Kaira said that it was decided by the CCI that distribution of assistance to the flood-ravaged people would be done in a transparent and an equitable manner to the satisfaction of the nation and the entire world community.
The minister said that focus of the Prime Minister’s introductory talk was transparency and it was decided that the forum of CCI would be used for policy level discussions and decisions about rehabilitation and distribution of assistance among the victims of flood.
Kaira announced that NODMC comprising notables with good reputation is being constituted soon. He said that 13-member council will comprise three members from the federation, two members each from all four provinces, while AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan would have one member each.
The council would be given responsibility of oversight of ongoing relief and upcoming rehabilitation process. He said that Khyber Pukhtunkhwa has already given its names for the supervisory council while the other provinces are likely to give their names in one or two days.
The minister told the media that today it was decided that every effort should be made to start the process of distribution of first tranche of Rs 20,000 among the heads of each household before Eid in a transparent manner.
He said that Federal government and provinces would have equal share in the first tranche to be distributed in next few days and the rough estimate of the amount to be distributed was Rs 40 billion.
He said that modalities of this process were being finalized in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister. He said that the Finance Ministry was in touch with the provinces to generate additional resources for rehabilitation of the flood victims.
He said that distribution of first tranche will ‘Insha Allah’ be started before Eid and the process would start in all provinces simultaneously. He said that an awareness campaign through radio and TV would be launched at the same time.
The Minister said that the federal and provincial governments were reducing their expenditures and diverting resources from Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and other sectors to provide relief to the flood-affected people.
He said that the CCI decided that farmers having less than 25 acres holdings in the calamity-hit areas would be provided free of cost seed and fertilizers. He said that it was also decided that the whole process of distribution of relief aid should be brought on fast track without compromising on transparency.
The minister told the media that Ministry of Information and Broadcasting would launch a special website which would provide all details of funds received and spent on the flood victims. “Tracking of all the money distributed among the victims would be possible and even the names of the persons and the given amount could be traced and media would be able to contact them,” he said.
To a question about the formation of proposed commission to inquire about the allegations of breaking of dyke to save big landlords lands, he said that this was the domain of the provinces and they would form such commissions.
“This is the domain of the provinces but the federal government fully supports the idea of such commissions and if someone is involved in such activities, they should be brought to book”, the minister added.
About the process of distribution of the first tranche of assistance among the flood victims, he said that formula finalized by the CCI was distribution of smart cards among the victims based on the data of NADRA.
To another question, he said that the CCI decided that the Ministry of Finance will coordinate with the provinces for generating additional resources and the provinces would be taken on board if imposition of some tax is decided.
While replying to a question, he said that all the provinces would get their due share in the reconstruction process, but so far it was too early to assess about final list of the affected persons in Sindh as water was still playing havoc in some parts of the province while in several other districts, water was still standing.
About torture of Islamabad-based journalist Umar Cheema, he said that the government has strongly condemned the incident and inquiry was being held to sort out the matter, but the CCI was not the relevant forum to discuss this matter.