Pensioners Calling

Even as the Governor is about to complete two months in office, the pensioners continue to suffer. One lakh and fifty thousand pension cases are pending clearance under various schemes forcing the hapless souls to beg for a living. According to data furnished by the Directorate of Social Welfare, around one lakh fifty thousand cases of widows, destitute and handicapped are awaiting clearance. The data reveals, 13,051 widow pension cases and 29,439 old age pension cases under Integrated Social Security Scheme (ISSS) are gathering dust for the past few years. Similarly there are 12,926 cases of handicapped persons awaiting the official nod. Many applicants awaiting pension have even passed away. It takes years to clear a file thus defeating the very purpose of the pension schemes. And the pensioners whose cases have been cleared get Rs 400 or 200 which is too meagre an amount to sustain life in the present times when a kilogram of Saag (Kashmiri vegetable) costs eighty rupees. The hapless pensioners have to visit the concerned office repeatedly to get the amount. Sometimes they have to spend half the amount reaching the office and back to their respective places. There is need to enhance the pension. The purpose of the pension scheme is to give an honourable and dignified life to the pensioners. This is exploitation in the name of pension. This is disgusting, inhuman and humiliating. A rag picker earns more than five hundred rupees a day. The legislators who promise stars to the destitute get more than eighty thousand per month. Similarly, a person who contests elections unsuccessfully gets government contracts and other incentives. The freedom fighters get around 12,000 per month. The government has to take measures as soon as possible and enhance the pension suitably. If the state can spend crores on providing security and accommodation to political workers, the pensioners should not starve. The pensioners have pinned hopes on the Governor after successive governments failed them. He must, therefore, take personal interest in the issue and get all the cases cleared without delay.  

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