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Once praised by PM as Swachata ambassador, Bilal struggles to make both ends meet

BANDIPORA: Bilal Ahmad Dar, who was once praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for cleaning Wular Lake and called him inspiration for all is now struggling to make ends meet.

Dar, a sole breadwinner from a poor family in Bandipora, had a glimmer of hope when in back 2017 Prime Minister Narendra Modi had congratulated him for cleaning Wular Lake and also called him a source of inspiration for “all of us”.

Along with the Prime Minister’s compliments, SMC had also appointed him as its Swachata brand ambassador for the cleanliness drive with a monthly salary of Rs 8000. The administration had even promised to allot a vehicle and a Shikara to support his campaign.

“I was earning my living by cleaning the Wullar lake and later when the PM complimented me on his Mann ki Baat programme, I was called to Srinagar by some officials. I was given the post of brand ambassador of Srinagar Municipal corporation which, of course, never happened,” Dar told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO).

Dar whose father was also a ragpicker, and died in 2003 due to cancer said that he left his studies midway.

“I was thinking I got a government job and now my worries will go away a little bit, ” he said, adding that he was very young at the time and didn’t understand anything. Now, Dar feels that all the promises made to him are proving to be false as he is being informed continuously that there is no brand ambassador post in SMC.

“I don’t even know to whom I will take my complaint,” he said, adding that he was raising his elderly mother with the salary he was getting from SMC for some months now before it was stopped.

“Unfortunately, fate has put me in such a position where I have no room to retreat. I am not sure what will happen to me, “Dar said.

“My only request to the government now is to fulfil the promise you made to me because leaving me in this situation is not good, I belong to a poor family,” he added. Bilal was also featured in the documentary ‘Saving the Saviour – Story of a kid and Wular Lake’.

The documentary depicted the life of Bilal Dar and won several awards in many film festivals—(KNO)



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