The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved a Rs513 million project to construct and rehabilitate 109 worships places and residential colonies of minorities across the province.
According to a media report, the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) in its meeting on Wednesday approved the project, which will benefit a large number of the province’s minority population.
The highest number of 19 projects have been allocated to Peshawar. In addition to this, 10 projects are located in Kohat district, 17 in Lower Chitral, nine in Abbottabad and 11 in Mardan.
Besides eight projects are in Bannu, seven in Haripur, eight in Nowshera, seven in Swat, two each in Tank and Malakand, three in Dera Ismail Khan and one each in Battagram and Lower Dir.
According to KP Secretary for Auqaf, Haj and Religious and Minority Affairs Khayyam Hassan Khan, the over Rs500 million project had been approved by the PDWP under which the non-Muslim places of worship, community halls and residential colonies would be rehabilitated and constructed.
He said the Auqaf department allocated funds for rehabilitation and restoration of minorities religious and community places in the annual development programme.
Khayyam said his department had also worked out another similar project for the merged districts.
He said a Rs300 million project for the purpose would be presented before the PDWP in its next meeting for approval.
“We [department] have identified 25 minority worship places all over tribal districts for the rehabilitation under the project,” he added.
“For the Kalash minority living in the remote Bumboret, Birir and Rumbor valleys of southern Chitral, 14 projects of the construction and rehabilitation of similar number of their religious places have been allocated. The highest allocation of Rs20 million has been made for setting up a jatakhan (a dancing hall) in Battat area of Rumbor valley.
On the other hand, Rs90 million have been allocated for the purchase of six kanals of land for Kalash festival place of Sarikjao in Brun area of Bumborate valley, while Rs9 million have been allocated for the Christian Colony in Faizabad area of Chitral town.
In addition, over Rs47 million have been allocated for 14 other projects in all three valleys for the renovation of the existing jashtakhans, purchase of land for festival places, and graveyards.
In the provincial capital, the highest amount of Rs20 million has been earmarked for Biba Singh Gurduwara, while Rs9 million will be spent on the rehabilitation of Durga Mandir. Also, Rs20 million will be used for repairs in the Saint Michael Catholic Church of Peshawar cantonment area.
The government will spend Rs42 million to rehabilitate 15 other minority worship, community and residential places across the provincial capital.
In Swat district, Rs15 million will be spent to construct a Sikh community hall and Rs8 million to put up a crematorium, while Rs13 million will be utilised for the rehabilitation of Risalpur Walmic temple in Nowshera district.
The government has allocated Rs10 million for the restoration of Ram Bagh in Mardan district.
Also, Rs35 million will be spent to rehabilitate and repair nine non-Muslim places of worship in Abbottabad district, Rs27 million on seven, and over Rs26 million on six in Bannu district.