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Housing for all? Living in tin shed, Bhaderwah family fears freezing to death

07:30 AM Jan 16, 2022 IST | Tahir Nadeem Khan Yusafzai
housing for all  living in tin shed  bhaderwah family fears freezing to death

Bhaderwah: The 10-member family of Mehboob Ahmad Fani, 50, lives in a small tin shed braving the bone-chilling cold in the snow-bound Bhaderwah area of Doda district.


This poverty-stricken family has been living in sub-human conditions in the Chinar Mohalla area of Bhaderwah amid the freezing winter conditions that could lead to their illness or death.


The family has been living in a tin shed for the past three years as authorities have failed to provide shelter to them under the Centre’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) that calls for ensuring housing for all by the year 2022.

Fani, the sole bread-winner of a family of 10, is living with his aged mother Raja Begum, wife Shaheena Begum, five children Saima Bano, Asif Hussain, Sania Bano, Salma, and Hania beside his two younger siblings.


The tin shed is presently surrounded by knee-height snow and the family is putting up in it despite sub-zero temperatures.


Fani, a daily-wage Safai Karamchari in Municipal Council Bhaderwah (MCB), had three years back written to the local municipal committee and the block office requesting the construction of a pucca house.


However, the authorities have not paid heed to his request.


Fani alleged that he had appealed to the authorities for help under PMAY at least 10 times but to no avail.

The office of the Executive Officer of MCB is just a kilometer from Fani’s tin shed but the authorities have not even enlisted him under the PMAY.

“Earlier, we were putting up in a rented room. When I came to know that poor were being provided financial assistance to build their own houses under PMAY, I sold my mother’s and wife’s jewellery besides borrowing Rs 80,000 from a bank to purchase a piece of land to build our own house. However, for the past three years, I have been running from pillar to post but to no avail. Now I can’t even afford to take my family to a rented accommodation as half of my monthly earnings goes to repay the EMI,” Fani said.

Fani’s mother Raja Begum, 75, is worried that if the authorities do not come to the rescue of the family, they might get buried under the snow or freeze to death.

“We are putting all our efforts to keep kids warm during the night by burning firewood,” she said.

Fani’s daughter Sania Bano, 13, talks about how their father soothes the nerves of the family.

“Abba keeps reassuring us that much snow has not accumulated. The biggest happiness is to see the shining sun,” she said.

Since last month, Bhaderwah has remained the coldest town of the Jammu region with minimum temperature ranging from minus 4 degrees Celsius to minus 10 degrees Celsius.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Executive Officer (EO) MCB, Yousaf-ul-Umar assured of taking corrective measures into the matter on priority.

“I was not aware of the gravity of the situation and after knowing the plight of the family, we will fast track the process under PMAY. Hopefully, by the next week of this month, the family will get the first installment of Beneficiary Led Construction,” he said.