I do not know where else to write to you so writing here- PLEASE A MILLION VILLAGES IN UTTRAKHAND NEED YOUR HELP!
Dear sir/ Madam,
Amar Ujala is the most popular newspapers in uttrakhand and has historically picked up many issues of concern to the people.. advocated for their rights. I write to you, appealing you to act once more to support the helpless people of Uttrakhand- the victims of Kedarnath floods. Media has dropped the matter completely now- when the real crisis is here! and this will not pass away like floods... its here to stay if media dosen't do anything.
I am writing to you with a lot of hope that you will pick this issue up and do something for victims of Kedarnath floods who are now facing second round of tragedy due to government apathy. Although government had declared suspension of loans of all effected families for 1 year, the interest on loan is getting compounded ad next year they will be expected to pay a bigger amount! Many people are unaware of loan suspension and banks are taking loans from them, others do not know that interest is being compounded!Floods took away their jobs/houses now government apathy is taking away their security!
The entire kedarnath valley is dependent on yatra for income and currently there is no source of income in the region. MNREGA which was totally underutilised is now active in villages because villagers do not have any other work to do but in Tharali Block for instance people are only being given 15 days of employment due to limited money and work and too many people;as against 100 days guaranteed in the act + the wages comes 5-6 months after work so they have not got any money in last 4 months.
In trying to get deeper into the matter I have met a man who is paying home loan instalments since last 4 months staying in a rented apartment bacause his house has been totally damaged, another whose is being cut from old fathers pension leaving Rs.2000 for a family of 7 (he used to work in a hotel in Gaurikund which has been wiped out in floods), another women's whose month loan instalment was cut from the compensation that she got for loss of house. For details on cases pls read below:
Trilok Sing, a resident of a Lotli village of Tharali used to work in a hotel in Gaurikund which was wiped out by cloud burst on 16th June. He lives with 6 other members in his family including aged father who is perpetually ill. Now his fathers pension (Rs. 8000/ month) is the only source of income for 7 people out of which 2000 is going in repayment of agriculture loan and 3000 in medical loan, fathers medicines cost them additional Rs. 500-1000 (nearest descent hospital is in Dehradoon! Reaching there takes Rs.400-500 per trip). The family is living on a merge amount of Rs.2000/ month and they do not know when they will get their livelihood to make ends meet. Trilok is working under MNREGA – the only source of employment in his village these days but he only has 15 days of employment as against 100 days which is guaranteed in the Act since ‘there are too many men who need it and work/ money is limited’ the man tells me. Additionally, it takes 6-7 months for wages to reach after completion of work, Trilok has not got any money so far. Their house has been damaged and they have tripal on one side of the house because they have not been given money to repair their house (as was guaranteed by government). The Patawari (revenue officer) came to inspect the house 2 months back assuring support from government but nothing has come to them. Yes the loan has been suspended (although none of the banks- PNB, SBI and cooperative banks that operate in the block have informed people about loan suspension) but when I told him that the interest on loan for this year is going to be calculated and people will be expected to pay it next year (which will compound into greater amount), the man said in a feeble voice, “how will we pay it next year- we don’t know when we will have money in our hand next”. His voice dipped as he said it ‘I would rather pay installments this year’.
Many people’s loan installments are being deducted by bank from the compensation that government has given for loss of house and life.
Yashoda Devi from the same village is paying 1500, a merge amount for a middle class family but not for a family that doesn’t earn anything and doesn’t know when they will have money in their hand. She has a loan of 30,000 from Co-operative bank.
Surendar Singh has a loan of 50,000 from SBI and is has paid 2000 for 2 months.. unfortunately he does not have Rs. 2000 now to pay to bank but the bank has been asking him to pay.
Devendra Singh has an agriculture loan of Rs.30,000 from SBI, Talwadi branch- his fields have been washed away.
Mr. Gosai, broke down on phone crying for help, he has been unable to pay home loans in last 4 months, his house is in shatters. He tells me the entire belt from Village Lodsi to Khulsari (10 Kmts) has the same plight.. there is a feeling of helplessness in the valley.. they are perishing and the only way left for him is to take more loan but he will not get any. He pleads me on phone to get him another loan to survive.
Surendra Singh Rawat has a loan of 1 lac from Uttrancha Gramin Bank, he has been unable to pay installments in 4 months since the tragedy that took away everything that they had. Poor man doesn’t even know that interest on his loan is getting compounded and there is a worse tragedy approaching him.
I would like to share a small instance from a village- in a village named Trijuginarayan (nearly 15 Kmts from Sonprayag), villagers had given cloth to village tailor for stitching like every year expecting to take them back after the yatra season. They have not been able to collect their clothes since they made no earnings. MNREGA – which has been totally under-utilized scheme in the valley in the past is now running in most villages. Most villagers have got their job cards made and are working under the scheme.
A friend of mine from the village (Khumera) told me ‘women of our village have never done construction work but now they are breaking stones on road’. NREGA is the only source of income for most families now… I don’t really know how long will it take for situation to change but definitely they will only have money after a descent yatra which will not happen till next financial year. In this situation, to expect them to repay loans next year looks quite unreasonable.
Can governement not appeal banks to use their CSR funds to waive off their interest and cover some cost itself.. I understand this is a big amount for government but it is important for their survival.
Welfare is the duty of the government- it exists to facilitate people’s life and growth.. these people just want survival- are they demanding too much??
If you want to authenticate this information:
1. Trilok Singh- 9639875471
2. Mr. Gosai- 9639875471
3. Surendar Singh Rawat- 897989583
4. Poorva pradahn of a jila panchayat, Tharali- 897905566
I am writing with a lot of hope that you will pick this issue up. PLEASE do not ignore this appeal.
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