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India offers to take up rebuilding work in Pak

Source: PTI
November 12, 2005 16:45 IST
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India, which has pledged $25 million for the relief and rehabilitation of quake victims in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, has offered to take up reconstruction projects in affected areas and is looking forward to advice from Islamabad in this regard.

Accepting Pakistan's invitation to India to take part in an International Ministerial conference being organised by President Pervez Musharraf here on November 19, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a letter to his Pakistani counterpart Shaukat Aziz expressed New Delhi's willingness to take up reconstruction projects in Pakistan, officials said.

India is 'willing to take up' reconstruction projects in quake-hit areas and 'looking forward' to Pakistan's 'advice' in this regard, Singh wrote to Aziz.

India, which is expected to send a Ministerial delegation to attend the conference, along with 69 other countries has been invited by Pakistan to take part in the conference to mobilise international funds for reconstruction in quake-hit areas in North West Frontier Province and PoK. Over 73,000 people were killed and 1.27 lakh injured in the October 8 temblor.

An Asian Development Bank report on the damage has said the reconstruction cost would be around 5.2 billion dollars.

Pakistan has so far received 200 million dollars out of $2.4 billion in aid pledges by various countries, according to Salman Shah, Economic Advisor to Aziz. The pledges were mostly in form of donations in kind and reconstruction projects.

India had pledged 25 million dollars in kind at a UN conference in Geneva in October. As per the Indian offer, Pakistan could procure any material worth 25 million dollars for relief and reconstruction. Pakistan has reportedly bought five lakh blankets so far from India.

In addition, India has sent about 275 tonnes of relief material by a plane and two trains, which included medicines, blankets and food.

The Indian government and several private sector organisations and NGOs have sent over 12,500 tents, 3.2 lakh blankets and food. India has also sent 27 truckloads of relief materials through the two LoC points opened after November 7.

India had also offered to send its helicopters but Pakistan declined to accept it and later expressed its willingness to accept choppers without pilots, which New Delhi refused. Musharraf said Pakistan was ready to accept any help from India without the involvement of Indian military personnel.

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