At a time when a kilo of onions cost Rs 100, 87-year-old Raj Kishore Das has been forced to live on a Rs 200 pension. With no other avenue open and a daughter to support, the octogenarian was forced to take up teaching again recently.
"After I failed to get redressal at various levels, I went to Vivekanand UP High School in Bhuiyadih from where I had retired in 1989. On my request, the school authorities allowed me to take one to two classes on a daily wage basis. I and my daughter survive on this money and the `200 pension. I don’t know how she would live once I am gone,” Das told Hindustan Times.
Das’ daughter was deserted by her husband about six years ago. The two live in a rented accommodation at Niti Colony, Bhuiyandih, while his son, who too is a retired school teacher, has severed all relations with them.
At the time of retirement, Das's pension was fixed at `160 per month as per the Bihar Pension Rules. It was revised to `200 in 1996 and it has stayed the same since then even though sixth pay commission came into effect in 2005.
"After inquiring into the matter, we found that Das retired under triple benefit scheme which was abolished in 1976. As per Bihar Finance Department Circular (Nbo-1069, dated: 23/06/1977), all such teachers would be entitled to all pension facilities as retired government employees,” said Manoj Mishra, Jharkhand Human Rights Conference (JHRC) president.
JHRC has now written to state human resource minister Geetashree Oraon, chief minister Hemant Soren, Prime Minister’s Office and Jharkhand’s Chief Accountant General seeking redressal for Das.
"This is inhuman particularly when the minimum daily wage is over `150 and even the government pays `700 as old age pension to senior citizens above 80 years of age. We've requested the authorities to remove salary and pension disparity and fix responsibility for allowing situation like this to continue for so long," added Mishra.