12,000 acres of land allocated for refugee township
KANDAHAR CITY (Pajhwok): A 12,000-acre of land has been allocated in southern Kandahar province for a township to provide land plots to Afghan refugee families returning from neighbouring countries and internally displaced persons, a minister said on Thursday.
Refugee and Repatriation Minister Syed Hussain Alami Balkhi, during a visit to Kandahar, said 1,600 families would receive the plots in the first phase, adding he had sent a technical team to Kandahar in connection with the township.
He said the process to distribute plots to returning families would be launched after the township was provided clean drinking water, electricity and road facilities.
He said the distribution process would be started by a commission led by Kandahar deputy governor.
The minister said thousands of families fleeing insecurity in their areas to other parts of the country were living in camps in Maiwand and Zheri districts of Kandahar.
He said these families would be surveyed and their return to home provinces would be facilitated and they would be allotted residential plots in their own provinces.
Balkhi said his ministry was ready to facilitate 200,000 returnees each year, citing economic problems and insecurity as hurdles in the way of repatriation.
The minister also said they had held trilateral meetings with Pakistan and UN officials on forced repatriation of Afghan refugees.
Before Pakistan would expel 200 to 300 Afghan families, but they were trying to extend legal stay of Afghans in Pakistan for another three years while Pakistani officials had agreed to extend their stay for two years.
He urged Pakistan to allow Afghans to live there for another few more years, praising the neighbouring country for housing Afghan refugees for nearly 30 years.
Recently the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) provided necessary assistance to returning families in Kandahar.
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