Flood affected Shikara riders await compensation

Jibran Nazir

Srinagar

Almost three years after valley witnessed a devastating deluge in 2014, the Shikara riders of Dal Lake are yet to receive the compensation for the losses they suffered during floods.

“We are yet to recover from the losses of 2014. Despite several promises made by authorities, we have not received any compensation yet. The authorities have pushed us to starvation,” said Abdul Qayoom, a father of five unmarried daughters.

Even though the authorities had sanctioned Rs 50,000 each for the rehablitaion of the affected shikara-riders, however, nothing substantial has been done, so far.

The current situation has forced Shikarawalas to sell their valuables as they have no other option to earn money and provide two-time meal to their families. “I was forced to sell my wife’s jewelry to get medicines for my ailing son,” says another Shikarawala, Manzoor Ahmad.

Many of these Shikarawalas have taken loans and credits from their acquaintances and relatives and they are not in a position to repay. “This Shikara is my only source of income. How would I manage to pay back loans when I am not able to do the business,” Manzoor asked.

“We are facing the heat of official apathy. All we have got is a pile of paperwork and we have made several rounds to many government offices but nothing has been done,” alleged G A Kauloo, president, Shikara-riders association.

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