Yashoda Devi, the nationally acclaimed Madhubani painter from Jitwarpur is facing severe financial crisis in the absence of her monthly pension, which she has not received for the last six months.
The 63-year-old artist is also suffering from several ailments like tuberculosis, heart trouble and diabetes due to long schedule of her painting work in a small, shabby one room house in the state capital.
"While things are getting costlier, I have not received my pension amount of Rs 500 since October 2006. This has been the general trend here," she said.
Rajkumar, her son said every month Rs 6,000 was being spent over her treatment. "It's difficult to provide her treatment as we do not have enough means," he said.
The pension scheme for the artistes and litterateurs was started at the Bihar Rashtrabhasha Parishad, a unit of the Higher education department, in 1972. Around 37 people including eminent poet Phanishwarnath Renu, Nagarjun and the eminent Madhubani painting artist Yashoda Devi were selected for the pension. The Parishad also decided to pay a monthly pension of Rs 500. However, the payment has never been regular.
Besides, the proposals to increase the amount from Rs 500 to Rs 700 and then to Rs 1000 has not been implemented due to lack of proper notification by the government. The pension amount was revised to Rs 700 during Governor Sundar Singh Bhandari's tenure. When Buta Singh became the Governor, he raised the amount to Rs 1,000. "But as there was no formal notification, the finance department reverted it to Rs 500," Ramesh Chandra Pandey, incharge of the pension cell of Rashtrabhasha Parishad said.
Reached for comments, HRD Minister Brishen Patel said that he would look into the matter and esnure that her pension was regularised.