Anantnag, Aug 12: Zahoor Ahmed Bhat, an ailing father of four minor children has been running from pillar to post to get a shed sanctioned in the favour of his family for more than a decade now. The family, which relies on the alms Zahoor collects from the neighbourhood, has been living in a dingy broken mudhouse for all these years with no one coming to the rescue to date. Zahoor is a resident of the far-off locality of Charakhpora Haapatnar village of Anantnag district and is ailing while one of his sons is supposed to undergo surgery in the coming month.
“My ailment has reduced me to a weak, unproductive person. To run my household I rely on begging in the locality. Financially our family is in tatters, it is the help of the local Auqaf committee that comes to the rescue of this family. My condition is known to the entire neighbourhood but everyone present in the local administration is unmoved. The roofing of my house is damaged beyond repairs, and the house I live in is on the verge of collapsing but even after submitting my application to the Rural Development department way back in 2010, my case was never entertained or looked into by any concerned official rather I have been given only hollow assurances. In the event of rainfall and snowy days of the winter, we are forced to sit on the wet floor of our house as water comes down from the damaged roof,” says Zahoor.
Zahoor isn’t battling his own poor health and poverty only but another tragedy has befallen him very recently. One of his kids is sick with a heart ailment and is supposed to undergo surgery without which the fate could be fatal.
“Despite my poverty and an improper shelter for our family, I did not let the education of my kids suffer as all four of them go to a local school. However, in the last few months, one of my kids has been diagnosed with a heart ailment for which surgery is the only way out. He will be operated upon in SKIMS next month. I have no idea where the funds will come from but I will leave no stone unturned to get my child treated.,” adds Zahoor.
As per the government housing scheme, Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojana, (Prime Minister's Rural Housing Scheme), previously Indira Awas Yojana, is a social welfare programme, created by the Indian Government, to provide housing for the rural poor in India. A similar scheme for the urban poor was launched in 2015 as Housing for All by 2022.
Many blame corruption, and political interference as the main hurdle in the implementation of such schemes because of which many deserving poor families like Zahoor’s do not get benefitted.
“Many families within our locality who are well off or already have a house to live in are being provided shed under the PMGAY scheme. Some people who had earlier benefitted under this scheme were again provided sheds despite having one already but no official to date cleared my file and we continue to suffer and are being deprived of our right,” rues Zahoor.
Nisar Ahmed, another local, has a similar experience to share. He has been visiting offices on many occasions but to no avail.
"I visited many offices at local level and even went upto DC office Anantnag to get my issue addressed but I was asked to visit one official who would send me to another and this continued for almost five years. I am a poor labourer and everytime I would visit any office, it meant the loss of wages for the day, "rues Nisar.
In Mattan block alone, there are hundreds of such cases where the beneficiaries are yet to see any headway in their pending cases.
While talking to The Rising Kashmir, BDO Mattan, Ashfeen Khan said, " I did come across the case of Zahoor Ahmed. Basically the issue is that the PMAY scheme was on hold for almost six years and now it has been re-introduced. There has been a problem while uploading the details of these deserving applicants in which the ones from ST category have been erroneously added in SC category and vice versa and same has happened with the ones figuring in general category. We have taken up the issue with the concerned people and it will be rectified in coming days hopefully. There also is no question of providing sheds under PMAY to the ones who have already benefitted from this scheme as regular Gram Sabha and identification of deserving applicants is done properly and regularly. "