MP Ravneet Bittu (right) during the meeting of councillors and MC officials at Bachat Bhawan in Ludhiana on Friday.(Gurpreet Sigh/HT)
MP Ravneet Bittu (right) during the meeting of councillors and MC officials at Bachat Bhawan in Ludhiana on Friday.(Gurpreet Sigh/HT)

Ludhiana: Pension of 30,000 beneficiaries suspended since April

Admin looks to locate beneficiaries whose pension was temporarily stopped after they couldn’t be traced, councillors resist.
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By Aneesha Sareen Kumar, Ludhiana
UPDATED ON JUN 09, 2018 04:20 PM IST

The Punjab government’s orders to re-verify social security pension beneficiaries across the state has run into rough weather as around 30,000 of total 1.75 lakh beneficiaries could not be traced.

As a result, pension of these 30,000 beneficiaries under various schemes has been temporarily stopped since last two months.

In a meeting convened by Ludhiana Member of Parliament Ravneet Singh Bittu at the Mini Secretariat on Friday to press for the re-verification, lack of coordination between the municipal corporation, the Ludhiana administration and 95 councillors, only 35 of whom were present in the meet, came to light.

During the meeting, councillors were asked to get pending beneficiaries in their wards verified and submit the list regarding the same with the civic body.

Under the pension scheme, the government pays Rs 750 per month to the elderly, widow and the differently abled.

Chaotic scenes at meet

Chaos ruled the roost during the meeting when a section of councillors showed resistance in tracing the beneficiaries. One of the councillors said it was the work of officials who were drawing ‘monthly salary’.

It was followed by a reply to the councillor by Ravneet Bittu. Bittu told the councillor that as an elected representative, it was his duty to be of assistance to the MC.

Bittu asked officials to share details of applications pending due to re-verification with councillors as he said they could help in completing the process at the earliest. “You (councilors) are elected representatives and remain in touch with people,” Bittu said.

He also asked officials to email ward-wise details of all applications to councillors and advised them to fix a day when councillors can come to discuss the applications and status with them.

Additional deputy commissioner (development) Shena Aggarwal on Thursday directed the MC secretary to get the remaining beneficiaries verified and submit the forms to the child development project officer (CDPO).

District social security officer Inderpreet Kaur said the administration had approached the MP, MLAs and councillors so that the verification process could be completed.

Why were pensions stopped

As per figures with the Ludhiana administration, there are currently 1.75 lakh beneficiaries (urban) of social security schemes in Ludhiana out of which around 30,000 haven’t been traced for verification.

As a result, the administration temporarily stopped pensions suspecting the missing persons to be illegal beneficiaries.

Some of the residents who were genuine and whose pensions were stopped have been up in arms against the administration. They have also raised a hue and cry and claimed that they have submitted forms many a times. However, their verification remains pending.

The forms can be filled in CDPO’s office from where these are then sent to the MC for physical verification. The accepted forms are then sent back to the CDPO and forwarded to the district social security officer for processing of the pension.

CDPOs unaware of new demarcation of wards

Showcasing lack of coordination between various departments, the four CDPOs in urban Ludhiana still do not have the updated list of 95 wards of the city. The number of wards was increased from 75 to 95 before the MC elections held in February. The anomaly came to light when a CDPO got up during the meeting and stated that he was not aware of the increase in number of wards and added that they do not have the updated list and thus were unaware of the areas falling under their jurisdiction. The ADC then directed the MC to provide the CDPOs with the updated list of wards at the earliest.

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