Aged pensioners face hardships to collect pension in Andhra Pradesh

AP disburses pension to 25.66 lakh beneficiaries at 13,669 secretariats on first day

Vijayawada: Aged pensioners faced hardships in collecting their pension amount at the designated village/ward secretariats in the state on Wednesday, due to the disruptions caused by an EC directive.

An aged woman collapsed and died while on her way to receive the welfare pension, due to the extreme heat.

The pensioners arrived at the village/ward secretariats from the early hours of the day, hoping that their pension amount would be disbursed. They were disappointed as the officials at the secretariats were away, to the banks to draw money for the distribution.

A few secretariats and government office buildings had made proper arrangements like setting up pandals, providing chairs and drinking water. No such facilities were provided at other places, causing severe hardships to the pensioners even as they arrived at the offices braving the hot sun.

Some of the welfare pensioners cursed mainly the Telugu Desam for “using” the Election Commission to bar the village/ward volunteers from their regular distribution of pension at the doorsteps of the pensioners on the first day of every month.

A pensioner from Pezzonipet, Peddiraju, said, “We have been collecting the pension at our doorsteps promptly on the first day of every month through our volunteers for nearly five years. Why this trouble now?”

At several districts, aged pensioners were seen waiting in the long queues until afternoon to receive their pension amount. The officials concerned were waiting at the bank counters to collect the pension amount and to start disbursal. Lack of pre-planning was evident on the part of officials. With the rise in day temperature, the poor welfare pensioners suffered a lot.

Pensioner from Satyanarayanapuram, Gayathri, said, “We are not so healthy to reach the government office to collect pension. We have to depend on our family members to take us to the offices, or we have to travel by an autorickshaw by spending money. It is unfair that we are subjected to such hardship at this age.”

Meanwhile, in a tragic case, a woman aged Vajramma, collapsed and died as she arrived at the government office to collect her pension at Gangur village of Penamaluru mandal in Krishna district. This was due to the sweltering heat wave conditions.

Mild tension mounted as the YSRC leader Jogi Ramesh and TD leader Bode Prasad along with their supporters arrived there. YSRC leaders blamed TD chief Chandrababu Naidu for her death and raised slogans denouncing him.

On the first day of disbursal of pensions, 25.66 lakh beneficiaries were given the pension at 13,669 village/ward secretariats.

The state government is supposed to distribute pension to 65.69 lakh beneficiaries at the rate of Rs 3,000 per head. It released Rs 1,951.69 crore for the purpose.

As many as 14,994 village/ward secretariats have been prepared for disbursal of pensions.

The state government asked the district collectors to distribute pension at the doorsteps of four extremely vulnerable categories. It issued directions to all the district collectors to start disbursal of pension from 7 am due to summer heat from Thursday. However, the failure on the part of officials was glaring.

The ECI permitted the state government to disburse the pension up to April 6.

On the other hand, the election authorities seized nearly Rs 34 crore worth cash and valuables from the time of release of poll schedule till Wednesday in the state. They include cash of Rs 11 crore, liquor worth Rs 7 crore and precious metals worth of Rs 10 crore. Neary 3,300 FIRs were registered and 3,040 complaints received on cVIGIL app on poll code violations, said CEO Mukesh Kumar Meena.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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