NADRA's misguided 'flood formulaÂ' -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

NADRA’s misguided ‘flood formulaÂ’

RAHIM YAR KHAN: Flood victims in the district have accused the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) officials of issuing Watan Cards to people who have do not qualify for aid.

“Many of the cards have been handed out to people who have no need of financial assistance and are usually relatives or friends of the authorities,” said a flood victim, Sohail.

Others said that NADRA had devised a “unique formula whereby aid was mostly being distributed among the wrong people, usually themselves”.

After the floods, teams consisting of the Pakistan Army, and officials of the Finance and Education departments surveyed flood affected areas throughout the province and compiled detailed lists of the damage in affected zones.

“In spite of the lists at their disposal, NADRA officials seem determined to distribute aid among those who don’t need it by overlooking the ones that do,” said Ehsanpur resident Jalal Khurram Buksh.

Under the ‘NADRA formula’, as residents have dubbed it, flood victims from Abadpur, Ehsanpur, Kot Karam Khan, Ehsanpur, Kot Sabzal, Makan Shah, Ghazi Abad, Nurpur, Kot Sunjer Khan and Hajipur were issued Watan Cards. “These people only lost 20 per cent of their property in the floods as opposed to those who lost everything and are being ignored,” said Malik Qamar.

Locals told The Express Tribune that 800 cards had been issued in Ehsanpur, 1,300 in Kot Karam Khan and 1,600 in Kot Sabzal. The villages where Watan Cards were issued to people who did not qualify for aid include Hajipur, Makhan Bela, Ahmed Khan Dahir and Dao Wala. The affected people appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhary, to take suo motu notice of the scandal.

Rahim Yar Khan district coordination officer (DCO) Ahmed Javed Qazi said that NADRA had been provided with a list of villages which had suffered over 50 percent damages in the floods. “A help desk was set up for people of other villages and after a departmental inquiry they would also be issued Watan Cards,” Qazi said. He said that Watan Cards were not the last resort to help flood victims, adding that the government was employing other methods. “If some people have not received a Watan Card, then they will still receive aid through other schemes,” Pakistan Muslim League functional (PMLF) leader Syed Mehmood Ahmed and Jehangir Tarin said. Ahmed and Tarin also visited a centre set up at Mehmood Stadium to issue Watan Cards.

Mehmood Ahmed told media that he would spend the next 10 days in Jamaldin Wali and would personally monitor the Watan Card distribution process.

“There have been several allegations of nepotism in the distribution of flood aid, this needs to be investigated,” he said. Jehangir Tarin said “If five per cent of the unaffected people are also issued cards for the benefit of the flood victims, there is no problem with that”.

Ehsanpur’s village Maolvi Nordin Dhando’s Master Nazir Ahmed said that 40 families in his village were homeless due to the floods but none of the families had been issued cards. Village Kutch Mahazi’s Allah Bachaya resident 80-year-old Allah Wasaya said he had been looking for help since morning but no one from his village had been issued a Watan Card yet.

Help desk in charge Ch Muhammad Aslam said that 1,238 families in Abadpur, 1,001 in Ehsanpur, 281 in Beet Allah Wasaya, 14 in Beet Dur Muhammad, 921 in Beet Mehr Ahemd, 37 in Chak 46-N, 296 in Chak 47-NP, 190 in Chak-49, 717 in Hajipur, 516 in Hamidpur, 108 in Khalti, 739 in Rasulpur, 386 in Fatehpur Tiwana, 136 in Faizabad, 161 in Gopang, 750 in Katchi Zaman, 1,883 in Kot Karam Khan and 863 in Thal Hasan had been issued Watan Cards.

Meanwhile in Zahir Pir, Watan Card 50 per cent of the flood victims on site to collect their cards were turned away. A network error in the ATM machines meant that half the people gathered at the site could not receive cards and only 4,500 cards were issued.

According to authorities, the distribution of Watan Cards among the flood victims from Zahir Pir has been underway since October 4. Watan Cards have been distributed among flood victims from the Liaqatpur and Khanpur tehsil.

Flood victims, including Ghulam Hussain, Fazla Rafiq, Ahmed Bukhsh, Farid Bukhsh, Ghulam Ali, Jamil Ahmed, Nasir Hussain, said that they did not know how to operate the ATM machines and were being swindled out of aid money. “Huge crowds gather outside banks everyday and we get trampled but still fail to cash in our cards,” said Ghulam Ali. One person complained that bank guards or others who ‘helped’ them use ATM machines later demanded a fee for helping them.
Source: The Express Tribune