This is the story of Puttanlal … and there are many in this country

No house, no LPG connection, no ration card, no voter ID, no electricity … just like Puttanlal, who lives in Hardoi district in Uttar Pradesh, many are still miles away from various government welfare schemes

Ranvijay SinghRanvijay Singh   17 Oct 2019 8:10 AM GMT

This is the story of Puttanlal … and there are many in this country

A mud house roofed by a tattered blue tarpaulin is where Puttanalal, along with his three sons, lives. This tarpaulin sheet saves them from heavy rainfall. When Gaon Connection visited Puttanlal's house, it was raining heavily, which converted the so-called house into a swamp. Recently, his younger son died because of snake-bite. The incident occurred in the same house.

Puttanlal, a rickshaw puller, lives in Lalpalpur village in Sursa block in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh. He is one of the many citizens who are miles away from any of the government schemes. His pathetic condition exposes the ground reality of the number of schemes launched by the government

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"It's been three years that I have been doing the rounds of our pradhan's home. But I couldn't get a house to live in. Out of helplessness, I live in this house along with my three children. We can't sleep on the floor. So, I have made a raised platform using a ply of wood. One night, snake bit one of my children. By the time we realised this, he passed away on our way to the hospital."

Puttanlal couldn't avail the Ujjwala Yojana scheme under which he could have got an LPG connection. He does not have a ration card. "My wife died five years ago. I am raising my three children by pulling a rickshaw. My financial condition is not good. I can't repair this house or send my kids to a school," said Puttanlal.

"I remain ill, almost on all days. What will happen to my kids after me?" asked Puttanlal, looking helplessly at his son. After he lost his seven-year-old son to snake bite, many social workers and officials visited him. Some gave him necessary items like a wooden charpoy and a gas stove.

Puttanalal along with his sons lives in a mud house roofed by a tattered blue tarpaulinPuttanalal along with his sons lives in a mud house roofed by a tattered blue tarpaulin

The blame game begins

Our next stop was gram pradhan Sarita Singh's house. Although she is the village head, her brother and nephew manage her work. Her nephew, Sourabh Singh, said, "Puttanlal came to us asking for a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. We have forwarded his name. But how can he get a house when even the gram panchayat hasn't got any awas (house)?"

"Our village has only eight awas, which we got two years back in 2017," said Sourabh adding, "Puttanlal is not a resident of this village. His wife lived in this village. He has been living here from the past seven years. We helped him in making his Aadhar card; we have given his name for the voter ID. After the tragedy struck and his son died, he was made eligible for the Antyodaya Anna Yojana. We had already asked the ration distributer to give Puttanlal the ration he needed."

Sourabh believes the system works too slowly, which is why many people don't get to avail of many of the government schemes. He added, "The story is not limited to Puttanlal. We had given the names of 39 people for Awas, but people are still waiting. Many villagers still live in the kachha homes."

When Gaon Connection met Nidhi Gupta Vats, the chief development officer (CDO) in Hardoi, and inquired about the housing, she said: "I am aware of the incidence. I will check why so many people haven't received housing."

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