Pradeep Pattanayak

Elderly pensioners in Ganjam, Jajpur and Kandhamal districts are having trouble in getting their pensions, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the concerned district administrations. 

In Jajpur district, Kali Jena, aged over 90, is a case in point. A resident of Duaripatna village under Binjharpur block, Kali is bent with age and walks with the support of a stick. Despite her frailty, she has to walk a distance of 2 kilometres every month to collect her pension. Though it is not possible on her part to walk a few yards due to her frail body condition, she is left with no option but to come out of her house as the administration is yet to take any initiative to drop the pension at her doorstep. 

The district administration swung into action after the ordeal of Kali came to the fore after a PDS dealer gave her money instead of rice. “I had gone to collect my rice. But the dealer gave me money instead of rice,” alleged Kali.

When contacted, Jajpur Sub Collector Gopinath Kuanr said, “We have the provision to supply rice. It is to be investigated to find out under what circumstance he gave her money.”

The same picture of how aged pensioners are suffering also emerged from Gandhinagar village of Buguda area in Ganjam district. Here the beneficiaries, including some aged about 80 and divyang persons, would collect their pensions from the Panchayat office on the 15th of every month. But now they are collecting their pensions from the branch of a bank for which they have to cover a distance of 15 kilometres every month. 

“To get Rs 500 as pension, we have to go to Buguda, spending Rs 500 towards auto fare,” rued Pankaj Jena. 

The pension beneficiaries in Jubaguda Panchayat under Baliguda block in Kandhamal district are in the same predicament. They too have to cover a long distance to collect their pensions. But most of the occasions, they have to return empty-handed due to the absence of the Panchayat Executive Officer. There are some beneficiaries who haven’t received their pensions for months together. 

“Here, the beneficiaries are experiencing a great deal of difficulties. On most days, the beneficiaries go to the Panchayat office and wait for long hours before returning home empty-handed as they can’t find the PEO,” said Bhokila Badaseth, Naib Sarpanch of Jubaguda. 

In Ganjam district’s Khalikote block, there are many elderly persons, some aged about 80 or 90, who are yet to be included in the list of beneficiaries. 

“We have been doing rounds of the offices to get ourselves included as the old age pensioners, but to no avail,” alleged Sashi Pradhan, a resident of Pitanapalli village. 

Reported by Sanjeev Nayak, Ajit Nayak, Pitabasa Dash and Silu Biswal.

  • Reported by:
  • Pitabasa Das , Silu Biswal , Ajit Kumar Nayak , Sanjeeb Nayak