An aged couple in Idukki district of Kerala has put up a 'kidney for sale' board on the parapet of their flood-ravaged house to raise money to bribe officials for relief.
The shocking move follows the lack of any financial support coming from the authorities to restore their house in the hilly areas of Vellathooval panchayat in Adimali.
Seventy-two-year-old Joseph and his wife are staying in a portion of the house that was spared in the flood fury. Joseph alleges that he did not receive even the Rs 10,000 assistance given by the government to the flood affected families.
"I approached the revenue department officials couple of times seeking assistance to rebuild my house and well that were damaged. But they kept saying it will be given soon. It is six months now and I have received nothing," Joseph told a section of the media.
Joseph suspects that the revenue department officials are expecting a bribe. "I don't have money to bribe them. Hence, I thought of selling a kidney to raise some money to bribe them," he said.
The incident will be a setback to the Kerala Government that has been making high claims about rebuilding post-flood Kerala by projecting a bund road in North Kerala that was restored. Even Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shared the images of the restored bund road on his social media pages.
Meanwhile, an official of the Vellathooval Panchayat told DH that a portion of the house was given on rent by Joseph and it was that portion which was damaged in the calamity. Hence, the tenant was allowed to claim the Rs 10,000 ex gratia amount paid to the calamity victims.
"On our assessment only 29 % of the house was damaged, for which Rs 60,000 was allowed as per norms. But Joseph did not accept it and submitted an appeal to the district collector. It is now under consideration and since there are a large number of appeals, it is taking time to process," the official said.
The official also said that 173 man-days were spent on removing the earth that caved in on Joseph’s house. Steps to restore the well would be taken soon.
Joseph, a construction worker, built his house of nine rooms himself with help from his wife. His two children are married and have settled down elsewhere.