Though prices of all commodities have increased manifold during the past years, the handicapped are still supposed to lead a life with a meagre pension of Rs 250 per month.
According to sources, the pension amount has not been increased from Rs 250 for about eight years. The amount was raised from Rs 200 to Rs 250 in April 2006 after which no revisions were undertaken. The handicapped claim they receive only Rs 250 per month which is too little an amount to make ends meet.
"I have been receiving Rs 250 as handicapped pension but it is difficult to lead a normal life with the amount. One cannot even buy clothes with the amount given as monthly pension," said Basant Singh, who is crippled waist down after he was afflicted with polio in his childhood.
35-year-old Basant is dependent on his parents and siblings for his survival. "About four people get the pension in Devi Wala village but we are fully dependent on our families to lead a normal life. We want at least Rs 1,000 per month," he said.
"The prices of essential commodities have soared but the pension we receive is too little to meet our expenses," said Kishan Singh (30) from Bir Sikhanwala village, who can only move with the help of a specially-made tricycle, adding not every handicapped person was getting the pension.
"I have been receiving old age pension of Rs 250 per month. I was almost fully handicapped after my ailment about three years ago. I can move with the help of a tricycle besides walking with a crutch for a few metres," said Mal Singh, 80, from Macchaki Khurad village.
"I used to do labour work and so did my family. Now I work as a watchman in a hospital at night and they pay me a salary. I don't know whether I can get the handicapped pension as well. But people like me should be entitled to get it with our old age pension," he added.
According to the government scheme started in 1981, people with 50% or more disability are entitled to get `250 per month as pension.
"The monthly pension for the handicapped is a cruel joke. It is very difficult to lead a life with such a meagre amount. Now it has turned out to be a mere formality than a real help. The money is not even sufficient to buy 1 kg tea leaves or vegetables for five days. How can one spend the whole day with less than `10, bearing all the expenses?" asked Darshan Singh Dhilwan, former sarpanch of the village.
Chinderpal Kaur, Faridkot district social security officer said the handicapped were being provided `250 as monthly pension through their department.