Building new house distant dream for this Kulgam villager

Muhammad Yousuf Dar’s house was washed away during the devastating floods in September last year. This was not the end to his misery as an accident left him bedridden and penniless soon after the floods.

Building new house distant dream for this Kulgam villagerWith little done by the state and Central governments to rehabilitate persons like 50-year-old Dar, he is finding it hard to feed his family, leave alone building a new house for them.

Dar lives in the Gund area of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district. The roaring waters of Vaishwa nullah wreaked havoc in Gund and adjoining villages of Kelam and Adigatnu during the floods.

More than 300 houses were completely washed away. Agricultural land and orchards, the only source of income in most cases, was washed away by the menacing Vaishaw nullah.

Dar used to work in his paddy fields to eke out a living and support his family comprising his wife and three children. “I had a humble dwelling and modest income, but managed just enough for ourselves,” he said.

“Destiny had other plans. Not only did I lose my house, but the paddy fields as well,” said Dar. He was paid Rs 1.75 lakh as compensation by the government. “Who can build a house with this amount?” he asked. “I might have managed somehow, but the accident left my life in tatters,” he rued.

Soon after the floods, Dar was hit by a speeding vehicle, leaving him almost crippled. Even after three surgeries, he had little hope of getting out of bed.

“Whatever little amount I got from the government was spent on the surgeries and medication. We had to collect money from the village to conduct the third surgery,” he lamented.

Ironically, Dar was at a hospital in Srinagar when NGOs were helping people build temporary sheds to stay. He could not get even a temporary shed.

His brother spared a room in his three-room house for Dar and his family to stay. Dar said he could neither think of building a new house nor live in his brother’s house forever.

“As of now, the priority is not the house, but to feed my family. I do not even have money to pay the fees of my school-going children,” said Dar.

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