Srinagar: As the Kashmir valley faces a severe chill this winter, many poor have been denied affordable housing due to irregularities in the Indira Awaaz housing scheme. Manzoor Ahmad, a wealthy shopkeeper in Kashmir's Srigufwara village was shocked to find one day that he was sanctioned funds under the Indira Awaaz Yojana, the housing scheme for the rural poor.
"One person came to me and said he wanted to deposit some money in my account. I gave him my account number and he deposited the money. I returned the money, but later found that a shed had been sanctioned in my name. I didn't apply for a shed," Manzoor Ahmad said.
Manzoor then started digging to the bottom of the case. He found out that there were several such incidents where sheds were sanctioned and money released against fake names. Documents with CNN-IBN revealed 20 such frauds in Srigufwara alone. "The housing that people have applied for have not been made. Even the Panchayats have been ignored on the issue," said a local.
When CNN-IBN took this up with the authorities, an inquiry was ordered. A preliminary probe showed many irregularities and action was taken against some officials. GH Rasool Dar, Additional district commissioner, Anantnag, said, "Whoever is involved in this scam, be it a government official or a public representative, they will be sternly dealt with."
This is not the first time that the Indira housing scheme has come under scrutiny in Kashmir. Many past probes have shown that many benefits were cornered by those with political influence and not by those who deserve it.