BAJURA/DHANGADHI, Aug 13: Ganesh Khadka of Jayaprithvi Municipality-4 in Bajhang is a retired officer of the District Health Office. His eldest son is a doctor, employed at a private hospital in Pokhara. His another son is an engineer while his daughter-in-law is a college teacher.
Ironically, Ganesh has made it to the government’s list of people living under poverty line. Surprisingly, poverty-stricken local Mana Khadka, who struggles for two meals a day, is not on the list.
Likewise, Ramesh Tamrakar of Bungal Municipality-4 and his wife Santoshi are both employed. Ramesh is a school teacher while Santoshi holds a job at a social organization. However, the family holds a card identifying them as people living below extreme poverty line.
Ganesh Damai, Basanta Damai and many other locals of Banna-9 do not have land or house. The genuine poor like them have been left out from the list of people living under poverty line.
“Who cares about poor people like us? Everyone looks down upon us while people with access to power get ID cards meant for us and reap the benefits,” quipped Ganesh. “I know ten other families like us who did not get the ID cards which they deserve.”
Former assistant minister for land reforms, Janakraj Giri, of Bajura has also made it to the list of the poor. Deputy Mayor of Badimalika Municipality Kavita Bista as well as ward chairman of Budinanda Municipality-1 are also on the list although both of them are rich and have good houses.
Many landlords, political party leaders and government officials in Province 7 have made it to the government’s list of people living below poverty line. On the other hand, many genuine poor have been excluded from the list.
Government employees assigned to collect data largely contributed to this anomaly. They came under the influence of rich and influential people and ignored those without access to power centers. The government’s funds meant for the poor people are going to the prosperous families.
“The actual poor were excluded while the rich and powerful were included,” acknowledged Rajiv Rokaya, ward chairman of Bajura’s Budinanda Municipality-4.
“Weakness on part of the people responsible for collecting data is to be blamed,” he added.
Mayor of Dhangadhi Sub-metropolis Nripa Od also admitted that carelessness in the data collection process led to the current situation. “The IDs have been wrongly distributed,” he said, adding, “We’ll investigate the issue and take action against those involved.”