BANNU: A major cellphone company’s franchise holders on Monday protested non-transfer of money to their accounts for distribution among the internally displaced persons from North Waziristan Agency.
The Fata Disaster Management Authority is disbursing cash among IDPs from the restive tribal area after registration in Bannu.
For the purpose, displaced persons have been given special SIM cards, which they use in their cellphones before contacting the cellphone company’s franchise holders for due payments.
Demonstrating in front of the Bannu Press Club, the franchise holders complained the cellphone hadn’t transferred money to their accounts for around a week to their misery.
They insisted their repeated requests the relevant representatives of the company had fallen on deaf ears.
Franchise holders insist cellphone company not transferring money in their accounts
Holding placards and shouting slogans, the franchise holders blamed their as well as IDPs’ misery on the cellphone company, the FDMA and the government.
Munawar Khan, who led protesters, said the cellphone hadn’t transfer money for IDPs in the accounts of franchise holders for around a week.
He asked how franchise holders could pay money to IDPs when their accounts were empty.
Munawar Khan said IDPs queued up outside the franchise holders’ outlets daily but returned empty-handed.
“Our millions of rupees as advanced security have been stuck with the cellphone company. We’re no more in a position to make payment to IDPs,” he said.
He said 6,000 of 54,000 displaced families okayed by Nadra had been given SIM cards to claim payment.
The money to be given to IDPs by such SIM cards is Rs37,000 each from the federal government, Rs8,000 from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and Rs7,000 from the Punjab government.
The IDPs, too, have expressed concern about the situation.
Saad Khan, a resident of Darpakhel area, said like other displaced persons, he was happy to see the government launch the efficient money transfer mechanism but the abrupt halt to payment of cash had upset him.
“The stoppage of payment by SIM cards by the mobile phone company’s franchise holders has added to the misery of everyone here,” he said.
Akbar Khan of Haiderkhel said he had so far got part of due payment and didn’t know when the remaining amount would be released.
Some IDPs complained some franchise holders didn’t pay the full amount of payment to them and withheld some amount for one reason or the other.
Rahimullah Dawar, another resident of North Waziristan, complained women struggled to secure their respective amount of money from the cellphone company’s franchise holders.
He said most displaced women from his region were illiterate, so most franchise holders fleeced them.
Munawar Khan and Musfar Khan, representatives of franchise holders, Payment of cash to IDPs comes to a halt however, denied it.
They complained franchise holders totaling around 50 had deposited from Rs50,000 to Rs60,000 each with the cellphone company as security but the company didn’t disburse the money to their accounts for payment to IDPs.
They said the company had released only Rs1 million in a week and withheld the remaining amount.
The representatives of franchise holders demanded that the government take action against the cellphone company.
They warned the company and related government agencies would be responsible in case of any ugly happening.
When contacted, Wali Khan, local sales manager of the company, said his company was not to blame for non-transfer of money.
He said the government hadn’t released the full amount of money for IDPs to the company.
“How we could pay such a huge amount to the franchise holders if the government doesn’t given it to us,” he said.
Wali Khan said as soon as the money was transferred by the government, the company would transfer it to its franchise holders in Bannu.
Published in Dawn, July 22nd, 2014