MYSURU: It's a battle on two fronts for the widow of a World War-II veteran who is counting her days. While she fights cancer, she’s also taking on defence authorities as their recent decision to cut the pension amount by more than a half is adding to her woes.
Yeshodamma alias Yenkamma(98) is the widow of Sapper Yengaiah who served with Madras Engineering Group (MEG) for 15 years till his retirement in November 1958. Yengaiah was getting pension till his death in April 1990. After his death, his wife Yeshodamma was getting ‘ordinary family pension’ of Rs 472 effective from January 1992. Following subsequent revisions in accordance with the Pay Commission recommendations, she was getting Rs 9,000 till five months ago, her grandson Mohan said. Now, she is entitled for ‘Ex-gratia family pension’ of only Rs 3,485 per month as calculated by Vijaya Bank.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Mohan said, “In the slashed pension amount, the bank authorities are recovering what they claim to have been paid in excess up to Rs 5,98,910 for a period of 11 years from 2006. Apart from the pension amount, the only alternative we have for living is six acres of agricultural land in the village located near Nagarahole National Park. Though efforts are being made to grow cotton or groundnut, it is very rare that we can reap the full benefits as the crops are destroyed by wild elephants most of the times”, said Mohan indicating that the family is largely dependent on the pension.
Yenkamma also has a specially-abled daughter to take care of, besides a widowed daughter and son, said Mohan. In her letter to the authorities concerned at the ongoing 158th Pension Adalat at Kalamandir, Yenkamma has also highlighted her plight saying, “I am on my death bed and, according to the doctors who attended on me at a hospital, I may live for a month. I confess that even if I live for another 20 years, the pension disbursal authorities (PDA as banks are called as in this case), may not be able to recover the so-called excess pension...”
The bank authorities, in a recent letter, had informed Yenkamma that she was entitled to only ‘ex-gratia family pension’ according to the clarification issued by principal controller of defence accounts (pensions), Allahabad, UP.
Another case unresolved
Hirannaiah who lost three of his right toes in the Siachen Glacier, is fighting for the pension he is entitled to as war casualty. Though he is getting general pension since his retirement 14 years ago, his plea as a war casualty remains unresolved.