Death of an elderly man in queue

Make systems and procedures easier for elderly persons in government offices
An elderly man covers his head with 'pheran', the traditional Kashmiri robe worn during winters, on a rainy day in Srinagar. [Image for representational purpose only]
An elderly man covers his head with 'pheran', the traditional Kashmiri robe worn during winters, on a rainy day in Srinagar. [Image for representational purpose only]File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Death of an elderly person while waiting in a queue amid freezing cold to submit documents regarding his old age pension case in social welfare department (tehsil) office Bandipora draws attention towards the need for making the procedures and systems easier for elderly persons for various welfare schemes.

They should not be made to suffer. While measures are being taken at the top government level to make the procedures and system easier in government offices for the common man, particularly the elderly persons, the benefits of these measures do not reach to the people at the ground level in some cases.

The system and procedures need to undergo a change as is being desired at the top levels of the government. The officials must stop treating the elderly persons visiting the offices like all other people.

Things should be made easier and friendly for them. They should be properly informed, briefed and guided about the procedures and requirements, which have to be simplified for them.

The elderly persons, who already face lot of issues in their lives, should not feel neglected while visiting government offices. They should not be made to suffer intentionally or unintentionally. If they face difficulties then all efforts to provide them benefits and some kind of relief through various schemes get affected.

The elderly persons need due respect and care everywhere including the government offices. The family members of the deceased, Sonaullah Bhat, said that he had gone to social welfare office for three days to submit his documents but could not get his turn to submit the documents there.

On December 20th he left his home for the office in early morning amid intense cold with a hope to get his turn; he died in the social welfare department office premises while waiting.

An official at the office told media that the deceased had reached the office before the office timing in connection with the formalities being done under the “governments re-verification” process.

Later the authorities in their version said that old age pension applicants are not required to submit hard copies of their verification. They said the applicant was not required to visit the office of Tehsil Social Welfare Officer Bandipora to submit hard copy.

Even if the deceased was not required to submit hard copy of the verification in office, why was not he told by the officials about it when he as per his family visited the office for three days and could not get his turn?

Why the social welfare department had not properly communicated this to the applicants and why they were made to make rounds to the office in freezing cold?

The government officials need to be extra careful while dealing with elderly persons. Callousness towards such people has to be put to an end.

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