SRINAGAR: Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) will pay an honorarium, and ensure training about solid waste management to Bilal Ahmad Dar, the 17-year-old who supported his family by collecting solid waste from Wullar.
SMC Commissioner Shafqat Khan said that an amount of Rs 8,000 will be paid to Bilal so that he can support his family till he attains adulthood.
“He will be with us in Srinagar for at least one year. During this time we will send him to school too because he has left his studies mid way, and give him training about solid waste management,” Khan said. “And once he crosses 18, we will push government to give him a permanent job. Let see how it goes.”
Bilal short into prominence in 2014 when a documentary about his struggle in life went viral on the internet. Dar, a resident of a remote hamlet in Bandipora in north Kashmir, had ventured out for a living at eight when his father died.
He used to rent a shikara go into Wullar and collect plastic. He said he used to sell the waste to a vendor that would fetch him anywhere between Rs 300 and Rs 500.
“This has been my life until today. I hope my life will change for better now. SMC has given me a chance to study, understand solid waste management, and an honorarium. I am hopeful that my life will change for better,” Bilal told Kashmir Reader.
From his earnings, he says he managed go get his sister married. He sometimes took his neighbours’ boats without letting them known, and sometimes invite their wrath. “It did not deter me. I continued my work,” he said.
Bilal’s biggest challenge in life was to restore his home after September 2014 floods destroyed it. He had to rent a shikara for a month to find food for his family. Government paid him Rs 50,000 which he used for his sister’s marriage and pay a sum to shikara owner.
Last week, Indian Prime Minister Narender Modi mentioned his name in Man-ki-Bhaat programme which brought him into lime light again. Since then, SMC has brought him to Srinagar. The commissioner has put him up in at his residence. On Monday, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti felicitated him with a memento and award money of Rs 10000, Bilal added.