Bandipora: A differently-abled and impoverished Bandipora man lost a humble house he had lived in for decades due to official apathy.
Shabir Ahmad Ganie, 35, a casual labourer from Ahamshrief’s Bilal Colony, was jubilant a month ago when he received Rs 50,000 in his bank account.
Ganie walked out of his dilapidated mud house and went to the bank branch manager, who confirmed that the cash he received was from the government’s housing scheme, which Ganie’s father had first applied for years ago.
Ganie himself had followed the case for a long time.
Ganie and his family were over the moon as realising his dream of having a comfortable house for his wife, two kids and an elderly mother was turning into reality.
But the joy lasted for a few days, as the ground staff from the Rural Development Department responsible for implementing PMAY, a central government scheme to provide housing for the poor in rural areas, dropped a “bombshell” on the family.
“First, a VLW from our village came to me and asked me to dismantle my old and dilapidated house,” said Ganie, who is differently-abled and works as a casual labourer in the PHE Department in Bandipora.
“He told me that I could proceed to construct a new house once this structure was completely demolished,” Ganie said, pointing at what is now rubble.
Once done with demolition, Ganie went ahead and withdrew Rs 50,000 from his bank account and started laying the foundation for his new dream house.
He spent nearly all the money on it.
But before the structure could come up, Ganie received the shocking news that the money was not meant for him.
“I was told that there was some error and the money was meant for someone else living in the same village,” Ganie said.
He said it was beyond shocking, as his account was linked with Aadhaar and despite that he was asked to return the money.
“I was asked to return the money. The pressure from the Rural Development Department was such that my wife fainted a week ago and fractured her leg,” helpless Ganie said.
He said that he was eligible for the scheme and that before him, his father had actively pursued the case before he passed away a few years ago.
“Everyone should come and see for themselves if I am eligible for the housing scheme,” Ganie said.
He said that the house, which was now reduced to rubble, was in a dilapidated shape and crumbling.
The events have taken a psychological toll on Ganie and his family.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, his elderly mother said: “We live in two rooms that were also ordered to be demolished. Now whatever money he spent on the foundation of the new house is being sought back.”
She said that they had been deprived of a house and money as well.
Ganie said that the department had also blocked his bank account, leaving him distraught and frustrated.
Block Development Officer (BDO) Bandipora, Shariq Ahmad said that they were investigating the matter.
“It was possibly a computer error that money was wrongly credited into his bank account,” he said.