In a sheer apathy of the government officials towards the old age pensioners, many old people, mostly those above 75 years old, have been left out of the old age pension scheme under which they got a paltry sum of Rs 250 per month -- which for many was their only source of income.
It was reportedly done after the survey conducted by the district social security department last year, in which they had found many fake beneficiaries under the scheme.
Around 400 old age pensioners from ward number 53, led by councillor Vipan Kumar, went to the deputy commissioner’s (DC) office to lodge their grievances with DC KK Yadav and asked him to release their pensions at the earliest.
“My husband died long time back. I was living with my daughter who was the only earning source for me, as both my sons had left me after my husband’s death. She too died six months back and now I am completely helpless.” said Udham Rani, 75, who could not even walk properly because of the ailment in one of her legs.
“I am even deprived of this paltry amount, which is the only source of income left for me now,” she said with teary eyes.
Distressed by the behavior of his children and now the government officials, an 80-year-old pensioner, said, “My children left me when I needed them the most. I have been living alone since then. Many times, I do not even have anything to eat. How can they do such inhumane thing with us? And on the top of it, I receive hefty electricity bills. I even asked them to cut off my electricity connection. Now there is no use to live. I want to die as soon as possible because I know even if we have come here today, no one will initiate any action”.
According to the official data, 25,712 out of the 81,311 beneficiaries under the old age pension scheme in the district were found to be fake during the survey conducted by the district social security department last year. However, the officials had reinstated 7,000 pensioners after they found them eligible during re-verification process.
Councillor Vipan Kumar, who had come with a bag full of papers as proofs of their aadhar cards, ration cards and voter cards, said the additional deputy commissioner (ADC) had given them assurance that the pensions would be released within a week.
However, Kumar said if the administration failed to give the old people their pensions, he along with all the pensioners of other wards would hold a massive protest in the city on January 23. ADC Girish Dayalan could not be reached for his comments despite repeated attempts.
Meanwhile, the district social security officials were carrying on the re-verification process to reinstate the eligible pensioners.