Arunachal: Duplicity Delays Displacement of Aid to those Stranded in Lockdown
There were 31 fake claims.
ITANAGAR: Seventeen-year-old Tsetan Nima is currently taking online classes from a private hostel in Mysore, Karnataka where he lives with 18 other students, most of whom are from across Arunachal Pradesh, waiting out the lockdown.
Having recently appeared for his class 11 examination, he and his hostel mates are spending the days indoors, buying their own groceries, and cooking their own food. His friends from other parts of the state have received the financial aid that was promised by the state government but he and others from Tawang district are currently awaiting theirs.
Students and professionals living outside the state during the lockdown period received a shot in the arm when the state government announced that it will be providing financial aid to them.
On April 16, the state government announced that it will transfer Rs 3,500 to each person unable to return home due to the nationwide lockdown currently in place. The government uploaded a Google Form that Arunachal Pradesh residents stranded outside were asked to fill up and submit to be eligible for the financial grant.
While many who applied have received their grants, several are still waiting.
Nima Tashi, a working professional from Tawang living in Bengaluru, Karnataka with a cousin sister and a friend in the city’s Kalyan Nagar area, said he had filled and submitted the form the very day it was uploaded by the Arunachal Pradesh government.
Tashi said that his support site office told employees to work from home and he has had to bear the cost of setting up broadband and Wi-Fi at his rented apartment.
Biri Mary, a lawyer from the state currently in Bengaluru has been trying to reach out to stranded students from Arunachal Pradesh and has witnessed NGOs help them out with essential food items as well.
“However, there is only so much we can do,” she said.
There appears to be at least two reasons for the delay in disbursement of the aid, including late submission of the forms and a number of questionable claims filed.
Tawang deputy commissioner, Sang Phuntsok, said that the applications by residents of the district have been received and are undergoing scrutiny.
He said that there are cases of multiple claims that have been filed that have to be scrutinised before a final list is made.
It was also on Wednesday evening that the DC’s office in Tawang had received the financial package from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
Tawang DRDA project director, Lobsang Testan who is one of the officers involved in the scrutiny, informed that the administration had received 1,523 applications out of which 960 were found to be genuine after “weeding out multiple and wrong entries”.
He said that there were multiple registrations since the link for the form did not put a ceiling on the number of applications that can be submitted.
However, it is not in Tawang alone where such cases have been reported.
In Kurung Kumey too, such cases have been reported.
One of the nodal officers for the district, Yumlam Tana, informed that 250 claims have been found to be genuine students out of which the aid has already been transferred to 189 of them. He said that some students did not submit their applications on time but that their amount will be transferred soon.
There were also 18 applicants who are not students whose forms have been approved.
Reportedly, there were 31 fake claims.
“One person said he had not even applied for the grant. We found one of the applicants was living in Ziro and had still applied saying he was coaxed by his friends,” Tana said.
He also informed that another ten who had applied for the aid had already returned to Itanagar even before the lockdown was implemented. There were at least seven other applications by domiciles and residents of other districts who had applied against the district.
“One person who had applied we found out is a migrant working as a carpenter and living in Pachin Colony in Naharlagun,” Tana informed.
Amidst such cases of duplicity, there have also been cases of sincerity shining through.
Testan informed that in Tawang, there have been at least 27 cases where the students and parents have voluntarily declined to accept the offer stating that there are more deserving people who are stranded outside.
Tana also said that there have been cases where parents whose children are studying outside have declined to take the grant and only registered to provide a comprehensive list of Arunachal residents living outside.