by Bilal Kanjal
ISLAMABAD: The affectees of Sunday Bazaar fire still await compensation by the relevant authorities for the losses due to the fire mishap.
Outdated report and filing system are one of the main hurdles in the payment of money, it has been learnt.
A massive fire back in August had gutted a large section of the weekly bazaar in H-9. According to reports, 625 stalls were completely burnt while 13 stalls were partially damaged. There were no casualties in the fire as the market was supposed to be closed on that day.
Subsequently, the government and Bahria Town chairman had promised compensation to the affectees so that they could restart their business; but despite a passage of one month, no money has been paid.
A stall owner, Abrar, said that his stall was burnt to the ground which meant that the fire was extinguished by itself instead of firefighters’ efforts.
Another stall owner, Ali, told Pakistan Today that they [stall owners] purchase stalls items on credit and then pay the amount back by selling off the items. But the fire had burned it all and now they don’t have money to pay people back.
He also demanded the exclusion of middle person in the payment as he claimed that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) officials would keep half the amount if it comes through them.
Shahid, another victim, said that Sheikh Rasheed, Asad Umer, Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz and even the interior minister visited Sunday Bazar, but they contended themselves to announcements only.
CDA’s bazaar inspector Malik Asim said that a report has been sent to the higher officials regarding the conditions, adding that the sanitation system has been fixed while the structure of stalls will be provided by the CDA. He said CDA also wants an immediate payment of compensation to the victims.
Sheikh Adnan Tariq, senior vice president of Welfare Association Islamabad told Pakistan Today that “we [organisation] reject the report submitted by CDA as that is very little money compared to the loss”, and demanded an immediate payment of the compensation money to the victims.
When contacted, Municipal Authority Director Sufian said that report has been forwarded for the grant; and it will be distributed among affectees as soon.
CDA PRO Mazhar Hussain said that Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal visited the place and discussed the issue of fire affectees which means that they will be compensated very soon.