Pradeep Pattanayak

A 60-year-old divyang woman from the Kutra area in Sundargarh district, Teresa Barla will no longer have to crawl on all fours to go to the Kutra branch of the State Bank of India to withdraw her pension money. 

Following a report by OTV on Thursday about how Teresa was on her way to the bank which was 30 kilometers away crawling to get her pension money, the block administration swung into action within hours and provided a tricycle to her. 

Due to her leprosy-infected legs, Teresa is unable to walk. She generally crawls to move from one place to another. To pay a traditional healer from whom she had taken medicines, Teresa went to a ‘Jana Seva Kendra’ to withdraw her pension money. However, the officials at the Seva Kendra turned her away citing that her 'Aadhaar' card was not linked to her bank account.

With no other option left, the elderly woman embarked on an arduous journey on a stone-filled road to the Kutra branch of the State Bank of India. OTV carried a report on how the divyang woman was forced to crawl for her pension money. 

Also Read: Odisha Shocker! With no tricycle, 68-yr-old woman crawls for 30km to withdraw money

Following the coverage, the block administration woke up from the slumber and extended a helping hand to Teresa. 

Following the direction from the block development officer, Hemendra Bhoi, the block staff brought Teresa to the block office. Bhoi had a discussion with her and promised her all types of assistance. 

Teresa is ‘divyang’ by birth but has to do everything all by herself after the death of her parents. Five kgs of government rice and a monthly pension are the only hope for Teresa who has been living all alone since the death of her parents.

Later in the day, SBI issued a clarification saying, “The fact of the case is that the said lady was advised by her village CSP that the Aadhaar linkage can be done in her branch Kutra which is 30 kms away from her house. When she started for the branch, one reporter met her and he took her to another CSP where it was found that Aadhaar was linked and she withdrew Rs 1000.”

“She had never gone to branch crawling for 30 kms. We have verified the fact from the branch and their Regional Manager also,” said Amaresh Das, AGM PR & CSB, SBI LHO, Bhubaneswar.

(Reported by Debabrata Jena)