PESHAWAR: Even though as many as 39,725 Watan cards have been processed in 19 districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, flood survivors continue to criticise the authorities over the delay in the issuance of the cards.
Flood victims in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa desperately wait for the Rs20, 000 promised by the govt
On October 11, elders from several villages from the Tangi tehsil of Charsadda district travelled all the way to the Peshawar Press Club to tell the media that they were facing problems in receiving the cards, with scores of people yet to be registered. The elders expressed fear that they will remain deprived of financial aid.
Their concerns are not groundless, as scores of such people are complaining about the delay in the process.
Some 10 days before Ramazan the authorities collected data of damaged houses in the Sher Bahader Killay of Charsadda district. However, a majority of the residents are yet to receive the initial installment of Rs20,000 announced by the government.
They have been making the rounds to government centres in order to inquire about receiving the cards and restarting their lives.
Mohammad Ali, a resident of Sher Bahader village, told The Express Tribune that he has yet to receive his card and upon inquiry he is told by patwaris that the names of most residents have not been listed in the computerised database of the victims.
Ali said that at least 50 houses in their village, located close to the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway, were destroyed. However, only 15 people in that village have received Rs20, 000 in financial aid.
He alleged that those people whose houses are still intact were given Watan cards by paying Rs2, 000 to Rs 5,000 in bribes, while the actual victims are yet to be provided financial assistance.
“The authorities assessed damages in our village 10 days before Ramazan and we are still waiting for help,” Ali said.
Hikamat Shah, another resident of the same village, told The Express Tribune that even the victims have to grease the palms of the policemen. He said that the centre to distribute cards has been set up at Charsadda College where locals have to pay Rs500 to policemen in order to jump the queue.
“Those who do not bribe the police have to wait longer to get their cards, as there are a lot of people who visit this centre,” he said.
Another villager, Yasin, said that only eight people who received Watan cards in their village were flood victims, while the remaining seven were not but had an influential background, adding that the genuine victims were ousted from the list to make space for ‘blue-eyed boys’.
Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) figures up to October 19 available with The Express Tribune show that so far at least 39, 725 cards have been processed in 19 districts. Of these, 34,786 cards have been issued and 25,835 cards have been activated and funds worth Rs516.7 million have been transferred on these cards.
A PDMA official was of the view that around 10,000 of people have not activated their cards yet, as it takes at least 48 hours for activation.