Valley News Desk

locals contest claim of DPO

Sharafat Manzoor

Kupwara, June 5, KNT: Kupwara district administration here in North Kashmir claims that it manufactured 8 lakh face masks for district people while it has already distributed 7 lakh masks free of cost to people living below poverty line and charged Rs 10 from people living above poverty line.

People are contesting the claim of the administration saying they neither got any mask free of cost nor paid money for it.

District Panchayat Officer Shujhat Ahmed told news agency KNT that they are still in possession of one lakh masks and has already distributed 7 lakh masks among people.

According to the 2011 census Kupwara district has a population of 870,354. The district has a population density of 368 inhabitants per square kilometer. “As per the claims of District Panchayat Officer, everyone should be in possession of a mask, but that is not the fact. I live below poverty line but never got a mask free of cost. Same is the case with my family members and people living in my village,” said Abdul Aziz of Kralgund village.

Locals said that the masks manufactured by administration on such a large scale imply that even infants would have been given these masks. “The claim is untrue and we appeal Lieutenant Governor to order the probe as it might be a big ‘scam’, locals told KNT.

District Panchayat Officer said that it cost Rs 20 for a mask to them but they sold it only for Rs 10 to people living above poverty line. He reiterated that administration distributed 7 lakh masks among people.

To manufacture these masks, contract was given to Self Help Groups. If Rs 20 is the cost of a single mask, that means a contract of Rs one crore sixty lakhs have been given to these groups. “Where are these masks and who got them?” locals question.

Efforts to call District Development Commissioner Kupwara didn’t materialize. (KNT)

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