The Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s (MCD) seven-month freeze on pension payments is not likely to end soon.
Two months after reports of 3,583 people illegally collecting pensions from the MCD as well as the social department of the Delhi government surfaced, the civic body has found an additional 200 people drawing double pensions in the Karol Bagh zone.
With the MCD trying to weed out bogus benefactors of the scheme, more names are likely to tumble out soon, sources in the civic body said.
The MCD spends a whopping Rs 250 crore every year to dole out a Rs 1,000 monthly pension benefit to senior citizens, widows and the physically challenged, recommended by area councillors in the Capital.
“The process of identifying names of bogus pensioners is still on. The Karol Bagh zone had identified 200 odd people collecting pension from both the MCD and the state government,” said a senior MCD official requesting anonymity.
“We have asked other zones too, to check the records of each and every ward,” he added.
Not only this, the civic agency has also given up the hope of recovering money from bogus pensioners, claiming that it is too cumbersome to identify each of the pensioners.
“It is not possible to recover the amount illegally received by pensioners. It will be a waste of time and money,” added
the official. MCD could well have incurred a loss of at least Rs 20 crore in the past five years in paying pension to the wrong people, sources said.
According to sources, there might be duplication in MCD’s own list of pensioners. “If we tally one councillor’s list of pensioners to another councillor’s there will be huge amount of duplication,” added the officer.
The MCD has stopped payment of pension for the last seven months to all 1.90 lakh pensioners receiving it. “Till the probe is not complete we can’t release the pension amount,” added the official.
Scheme to be scrapped?
Due to duplication, the government has suggested scrapping it. “Government officials suggested that rather than both Delhi government and MCD providing the pension scheme, only the city government should provide it,” said Subhash Arya, leader of the MCD House.
“If the government sends us a proposal, we will think about it,” Arya added.