KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Physically challenged individuals in southern Kandahar province say land plots they were promised years ago remain a dream.
They criticize the government for what they say not paying attention to their problems and ignoring them.
One of them, Qudratullah, who lost one of his legs in a landmine blast years ago, told Pajhwok Afghan News that a number of disabled persons from Kandahar visited Kabul eight years ago and met with then president Hamid Karzai.
He said Karzai promised giving 1000 plots of land to the disabled persons from Kandahar and also issued a decree in this regard, but the promise could not be fulfilled during Karzai time and after him.
He said the lack of shelter was a serious problem of disabled people because most of such people lived in ruined homes against rent.
He said disabled people were hardly offered jobs which could resolve their problems and could make them self-reliant.
Another disabled person, Abdul Samad, who lost many body parts to the conflict, is living in a dilapidated home in the old Kandahar city.
He also said people with disabilities faced many problems including homelessness and inability to afford house rent.
Abdul Samad said they had knocked at the doors of several government departments seeking the promised land plots, but to no avail.
He regretted government’s inattention and the regime had forgotten those who deserved the most.
He feared the land promised to them had either been usurped or being usurped and the government should pave the ground for its distribution among the disabled persons.
Deputy head of disabled union in Kandahar, Faizullah Omaryar, said the government had turned a deaf year towards their problems and the promise of land plots remained on paper alone.
As a representative of the disabled persons, Omaryar said he had repeatedly visited the government departments concerned seeking solution to their problems, but they were offered only promises.
He said eight years had passed since former president Hamid Karzai’s announcement and since then no one had taken any step to allot the land plots to the disabled.
He asked the incumbent government to implement Karzai’s decree.
Kandahar labour, social affairs, martyrs and disables department’s financial affairs head, Hamidullah Mubarez, said it was explicitly mentioned in the Hamid Karzai’s decree that 1000 land plots would be distributed to the disabled person in two areas – in front of the Kandahar airfield and west of the zonal police headquarters.
But he said the decree could neither be enforced during Karzai time nor later. He said large swaths of the identified land had also been usurped.
The official said if the land was retaken from usurpers and distributed to the deserving persons, it would help resolve to a great extend housing problem of the disabled persons.
To a question, Mubarez said there were a large number of disabled persons in Kandahar and the 1000 land plots were insufficient. However, he said the 1000 plots should be distributed among the most deserving persons.
Mubarez said nearly 8000 disabled persons, a quarter of them females, were registered with his department.
Deputy Kandahar mayor Mohammad Nasim Razai said he would discuss the issue of land plots distribution to disabled persons with the provincial government to find a solution.
He said the municipality would give priority to disabled persons when it would start land distribution process.
The governor’s spokesman, Samim Khpalwak, said disabled persons had many times met the governor, Dr. Humayun Azizi, and had shared their problems with him.
Azizi had promised the creation of an authorized commission to resolve the issue and give the disabled persons their right, Khpalwak said.