Srinagar, Dec 20: Senior political leaders Usman Majid, Mohammad YousufTarigami and Syed Basharat Bukhari have expressed anguish over the death of an elderly man Sonaullah Bhat of Malangam while waiting in a queue for submitting his old age pension form in a government office in Bandipora.
In a statement, Apni Party Vice President Usman Majid also expressed dismay over hardships being faced by physically challenged persons, widows, divorcees, old age pensioners and transgenders who are getting pension through the Social Welfare Department through online registration. He alleged that government has devised a mechanism to deprive a large number of eligible persons from the benefit of old age pension scheme, by prescribing numerous requirements, which would be very difficult for any poor and aged person to fulfil.
Majid said the benefit of old age pension scheme is availed by the poor, old and infirm people but the number of formalities prescribed would be impossible to be completed by the poor and aged people, most are whom are either bed ridden, unable to take rounds of several government offices. Most of the beneficiaries are returning home after days without getting their details uploaded to the official site. Instead of enhancing the quantum old age and widow pension, the Government is in a mood to deny this benefit to lot many people in Jammu and Kashmir. There is lot of resentment amongst people in this regard, he said, demanding immediate withdrawal of the new instructions.
CPI(M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami reiterated the demand for simplifying the whole process. He expressed dismay over hardships being faced by the disabled, widows, divorcees, old age pensioners, transgenders, downtrodden and other destitute who are getting meager pensions through the Social Welfare Department in online registration.
“The beneficiaries, who are old-aged including the disabled are being made to sit in large queues for hours in sub-zero temperatures outside concerned offices which led to the unfortunate death of this poor elderly person,”he said.
The CPI(M) leader urged the administration to take measures for simplifying the whole process and demanded immediate relief for the victim’s family.
Peoples Conference senior leader and former minister Syed Basharat Bukhari censured the administration on the death of the elderly man .
Bukhari said that the process of applying for benefits and delivering those benefits to the beneficiaries should be embedded with dignity.
“The old age pension and other benefits that the state gives to facilitate the lives of needy sections of the society is not a matter of charity. It is the right of those sections to expect the state to care for them with dignity and honour. The state must show magnanimity and respect while dealing with the people it is duty bound to facilitate. However, it is an irony that to get the care and benefits they are entitled for, the beneficiaries have to suffer and struggle often in long queues and biting cold”, he said.
Bukhari further urged the government to simplify the registration process and use digital avenues to make the entire process easy and facilitative so that the beneficiaries are not inconvenienced while applying for benefits.