Sopore: The Social Welfare department in Sopore is working from two rented darkrooms of an unmarked building situated on the banks of river Jhelum that has borne the brunt of 2014 floods. The office is manned by four officials-tehsil officer and his clerk besides a sweeper and watcher. The office attends to around 300 applicants on daily basis mostly pertaining to old-aged persons.
Misra Begum, 71, a resident of Tarzoo village, sitting on floor of the dimly lit corridor told Kashmir Reader that from last two weeks she was paying visits to the office to inquire sudden stoppage of her monthly monetary assistance of Rs1000 for the last two months. “Whenever I visit this office, I don’t get the chance to even reach closer to the clerk,” Begum, a widow, said.
“I have nobody to take care of me. My lone daughter is married and lives with her husband. This monetary assistance keeps me alive but from last one two months even this amount has not reached to my account, and Allah knows the better reason of it”, Misra begum said.
“Around 13955 applicants are processed to assist people under different state and central schemes. The dearth of staff and space makes it difficult for us to handle such a huge rush, which eventually makes people suffer, Abdul Qayoom Wani, tehsil social welfare officer said.
“Having only two staff members, it’s very difficult for us to do the office work as well as handle the verification of applicants in the field,” he said.
“There are some financial assistance schemes which have not been funded by the government since 2013adding to the woes of needy people,” Wani said.
Director Social Welfare department Hashmat Ali Yatto told Kashmir Reader that the staff crunch issue was plaguing most of the social welfare offices across the valley but the fresh recruitments through the service selection board were expected to address it. He said the accommodation aspect was being looked after the district administration.