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No more Relief Goods Please!

CHITRAL --Complaints of mismanagement, pilferage, nepotism and favouritism are rampant over the distribution of relief goods among flood affectees here which has been going on for the last three days. It is being alleged that many genuine affectees have been left high and dry while those with right connections have got away with bulk of relief supplies although they had lost nothing during the floods. World Food Program had sent relief goods comprising wheat flour, ghee, lentils and biscuits for 450 affected families of the valley. Two different consolidated lists had been prepared, the last one was to replace the first one which was found to be faulty but ironically when relief goods arrived the accompanied list happened to be the first one. A meeting was held to resolve the controversy. While the people are awaiting results of the meeting, the relief goods have been already distributed accordind to the faulty list.

Local people believe that they were better off without these supplies. At least their unity was intact. But now their unity has been breached and replaced by rancour, heart burning and mutual recrimination. According to the MOU signed between WFP and a reputed NGO, the latter had to deliver these supplies at the door steps of the affectees for which carriage charges had been paid. In clear violation of the MOU bulk of the goods were centrally distributed and the proceeding presented scene of a fish market where nothing could be fair. In some villages every family was favoured despite the fact that no one was affected and many genuine affectees kept waiting in their homes for the relief to arrive.Even the criterion of poverty was flouted.If honest investigations are conducted into the whole affair, the culprits can easily be caught and their influence neutralized and people, including institutions, saved from their evil spells in the future.

The most painful aspect was not the injustice but the involvement of institutions and leaders who failed in their duty and undermined the moral authority of worthy institutions and some very good leaders that we have have got after many years. Before agreeing to do the job the NGO should have weighed its capacity and ability of its manpower to deliver and earn good name for itself which apparently was not done It is time that some heads must roll and institutions revamped to instil some amount of accountability into the system and restore public confidence failing which we run the risk of returning to the rules of jungle if that stage has not already come. Already we have started hearing from people that they were better off before the intervention of development outfits. They at least had their honesty and innocence in tact but now greed, impunity and loss of self esteem have replaced these lofty values.

Many affectees while talking to this scribe demanded action against all those who were involved in the preparation of these lists and distribution of supplies. They immediately be taken off this operation and replaced by men and women of integrity and honesty having fear of Allah. If such people can not be found due to the rampant culture of impunity then we should be left alone because in that case we would be better off without relief supplies.. --Islamuddin, Garam Chashma,22 Dec 2010


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