Hundreds of old-age pensioners have sought the intervention of the chief minister, health minister and the deputy commissioner to ensure doctors are posted at the civil hospital and the health centres in Sohna tehsil to certify their age.
Old age pensioners are required to get their age verified by a government doctor posted in their respective areas.
Despite a biometric attendance system installed in hospitals, there has been no action against doctors who fail to report for duty. There have even been demands for an inquiry into the attendance records, over the last two months, of doctors who have failed to report for duty.
Suraj Singh, a resident of Raipur in Sohna, said, “I keep bringing my parents to the hospital every day, only to return empty-handed as not one doctor is available (to certify their age). It is difficult to manage conveyance for my elderly parents every day. I hope something gets done and we don’t have to go through this anymore.”
Dharampal Singh, a resident of Silani near Ghangola, said, “On most days, there’s no notice telling us whether doctors are available or the days they are likely to be around. This would enable us to schedule our visits accordingly. The administration should make alternative arrangements at another government hospital so that we have our age verified.”
Haryana government currently gives Rs 1,600 per month to senior citizens as old age ‘Samman’ (honour) allowance, which was introduced by former chief minister Devi Lal in 1987.
The community health centre in Ghangola caters to patients from 54 villages and more than 15 old-age pensioners, on an average, visit the unit daily in the quest of age certificates. The locals, especially the elderly, are distressed over the continued unavailability of doctors at government-run health units and have, hence, sought urgent intervention of the district administration and the health minister.
“I moved the civic agencies and even let my misgivings be known at the government’s portal for posting feedback. Taking a leave from work and getting my parents at the hospital every day is not possible. The pension helps my parents get by and to be facing such hassles is nothing short of mental harassment for my family. We spend to four-five hours waiting for the doctor and are then told to leave and come back later,” Parveen Kumar, a resident of Berka in Sohna said.
The doctors at government hospitals and health centres and required to certify the age of elderly pensioners and tell them if they are eligible to draw pension.
Jai Bhagwan Jatain, senior medical officer, Sohna, said, “We conduct X-rays of dental and bone joints to verify the age. More than 15 people visit us daily for old-age pension verification.”
A senior district official assured that the administration will look to boost the availability of doctors at government health centres and have all issues of old-age pensioners resolved at the earliest.
The doctor posted at the Ganghola community health centre is also additionally in charge of the Bhora Kalan and Pataudi units and have to cater to his duties there as well.
The age certification rule came into play to stop people from obtaining old-age pension certificates despite not meeting the age criteria.