Thousands of schools destroyed in 2005 earthquake
The Supreme Court came down on the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority during a hearing Wednesday pertaining to the reconstruction of the schools destroyed in the 2005 Khyber Pakthunkhwa earthquake.
“ERRA was formed in 2005. What has it done until now? Why haven’t the 540 schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa been rebuilt yet?” Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed asked the authority’s chairman.
He rejected the report prepared by the authority calling it unsatisfactory. “Where were the Rs205 billion given to you spent?” the court demanded. “In 2005, the entire country sent help for the earthquake victims. People even donated the money they had saved for pilgrimage. What did you do?”
“Pease give me a moment to explain,” the chairman of ERRA requested. Answer the questions that I have asked you first, the chief justice retorted.
“Why are students in the province still studying under open skies?” he inquired. “The schools should have been built within two years. You were given money by both the people and the government. Where was it spent?”
The court demanded ERRA prepare a new report on the renovation of schools with video and pictorial evidence and submit it at the next hearing.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Advocate-General told the court that the government renovated 148 schools in the province.
“What about teenage students? They would have had run away by now,” the court argued. “The kind of buildings that are being constructed will fall within six months.”
The lives of students and teacher in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are in danger, the chief justice warned. “They are suffering at the hand of corruption.”
Bringing up extortion, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, a member of the bench, said that contractors are threatening people in the province and taking money from them.
“Businessmen in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan have left the area because of this,” he revealed. The advocate-general was unaware of them. “It seems like the commissioners are not telling you the ground realities,” Justice Miankhel said.
“I will look into the matter now,” the advocate-general promised. He added that for the first time this year, a polio campaign was conducted in North and South Waziristan. “Not a single polio case was reported in the region this year.”
Consequently, the top court adjourned the hearing for a month and instructed the authorities to ensure the provision of facilities at schools across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.