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Martyred soldiers’ families longing for promised plots

Martyred soldiers’ families longing for promised plots

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Mar 04, 2019 - 15:40

MEHTERLAM (Pajhwok): Despite efforts spanning five years, around 1,000 families of deceased soldiers of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) could not receive land plots in the Qarghayio district of eastern Laghman province due to negligence of local officials, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt.

The Farmankhel Township in the district has 1,872 plots and at least 1,000 families of the fallen soldiers had submitted 50,500 afghanis each as required six years ago and have so far knocked at every door several times but in vain.

Pajhwok has received documents which show many formal letters have been written to the Governor’s House, the Urban Affairs Department and other departments concerned for resolution to the issue, but no cooperation was offered in return.

One of these letters is written by the Mayor of Qarghyio district, Fazal Rahman Sahibzada, to the Governor’s House says ‘all related affairs of the township have been completed and only the distribution of plots to the people is remaining, but this remaining task is yet to discharged.”

A copy of this letter is dispatched to the Governor’s House on 02/01/2017 and to the Urban Affairs Department on 05/08/2018.

The documents also reveal another letter the incumbent Mayor of Qarghyio district Eng. Zyarmal Alkozai has written to the Urban Affairs Department.

This letter, a follow up to the previous letter, reads: “The plots demarcation process has been delayed since 2014 and a follow letter is being sent to you in this regard so that action be taken.”

Complains of the martyred NSDF families

The families of the martyred security personnel say they submitted 50,500 afghanis each with difficulties to the government for obtaining plots but none received them so far to build shelter for themselves.

Syed Nazem, father of martyred security personnel who was killed in a bomb blast in the Shajoy district of Zabul province five years back, said the money they submitted to the government was beyond their affordability.

Shah Mohammad, a resident of Kandol locality in Alishang district, said his nephew was killed in a gunfight with rebels. He said he relieved a plot’s ownership document four years back, but not the plot so far.

The widow of a security personnel, also talked to Pajhwok reporter. She said her husband was serving at one of the check posts in Alishang district.

She said currently she lived in a house against rent in Mehtarlam and she had also submitted the required money for a plot four years ago.

Public, civil societyinfo-icon activists hold authorities responsible

Senator Mer Hatam Tarakhel from Laghman province accused local officials in Laghman of having committed negligence in distribution of plots to the families of the martyred soldiers.

He said he had shared the issue with authorities concerned several times but they always neglected the issue.

Zahidullah Musazai, head of the Youth Council, said the issue had become ‘old’ as many governors and officials assured its resolution, but failed.

Officials explain their efforts and problems

Local authorities say not only the Farmankhel Township, but the townships for teachers and refugees in the Qarghaio district face the same fate.

Nasir Ahmad Himmat, the Qarghaio district chief, told Pajhwok that the governor’s house had assured them of appointing a delegation to address problems plaguing the townships.

He confirmed parts of the Farmankhel Township had been grabbed by local people, which he called not the only problem.

Eng. Ziarmal Alokozay, mayor of Qarghaio district, said the Farmankhel Township was jointly designed by the Urban Development Department and the Qarghaio municipality and then the Ministry of Urban Development implemented it in 2016.

He said the township would be constructed on 1,500 acres of land, of which a two-thirds part had been distributed so far to the families of martyred soldiers and one part remained undecided.

“This township contains a total of 1,872 land plots of which 1,000 were formally distributed to martyred soldiers’ families and each family submitted 50,500 afghanis to the municipality account,” he added.

Alokozay said the land plots in the township were distributed to families of the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan National Police (ANP) and intelligence forces that lost their lives in line of duty and seven percent of the plots were allocated to people with disabilities.

He said ownership claims of the township plots by tribal people and negligence of the local administration regarding complaints were problems that impeded the plots’ distribution.

The Laghman Urban Development Department also said they had committed no negligence in the land distribution and they were ready to start land distribution process as soon as the governor’s house vacated the area.

Wafiullah Eshaq, Laghman Urban Development Department director, confirmed the township faced some problems from tribesmen and said only the governor’s house could deal with it.

But the Laghman governor’s house said the land could not be distributed because those eligible for the plots should first register in a biometric system according to an order from the Presidential Palace.

Governor’s spokesman, Asadullah Dawlatzai, said the biometric registration was aimed at preventing corruption and stopping individuals from taking multiple land plots under the same identity.

He said a delegation had been appointed to address the mentioned problems and the governor’s house would find a solution after full assessment.

The issue of whether the money went to the government’s treasures or personal pockets would be also investigated, Dawlatzai added.

Laghman is not the only province where families of martyred soldiers are faced with such issues, but these families in many other provinces of the country havev received only ownership documents not the land plots.

The families of martyred soldiers also face huge problems in obtaining death gratuity and are often obligated to give bribe.

Experts believe families would lose interest in sending their children to join security forces if the surviving family members are continued to face hardships.

Massoud Safi, one of the soldiers who lost limbs in the war, said people while seeing the situation of families who lost their members in the war, might rethink allowing their beloved ones to join security forces.

nh/mds/ma

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