Three years after man’s death, wife yet to get Covid compensation in Karnataka

Rs 1 lakh cheque has not been encashed even after three years because of a clerical error.
Representative Image
Representative ImagePhoto | Express Illustration

BENGALURU: A Rs 1 lakh cheque, which was the compensation paid by the state government to a Covid victim’s wife, has not been encashed even after three years because of a clerical error.

Santosh Eshwar Soundatte (40), a private transport contractor, was diagnosed Covid-positive in April-May 2021. He suffered for over 30 days and was shifted to four different hospitals. Finally, he was admitted at Srinivas Hospital in Bengaluru, where he was an in-patient for ten days before passing away.

For his traumatised wife Ashwini Soundatte, what followed was a painful ordeal. She received the cheque towards compensation, bearing number 590773, from the government in December 2022. The then BJP government had announced Rs 1 lakh relief to the kin of Covid patients, who had passed away.

Ashwini submitted the cheque at her bank and waited for the money to be credited into her account. But a few days later, she learnt that it had not been honoured. The reason was that the financial instrument had her name as “Ashwin” instead of “Ashwini”, with the ‘I’ conspicuously missing.

She did not know then that it would take years and multiple visits to government offices to add an ‘I” to the cheque. She told TNIE, “I visited the tahsildar’s office in Anekal twice and the DC’s office in Bengaluru four times between 2022 and 2024. I also called them a number of times. Each time, the officials told me that they are attending to my problem, but nothing happened.”

The new Congress government took over last year, but the issue has not been resolved, she added. “The tahsildar asked me to call on his personal number and not official number, but many advised me against it,” she said.

Ashwini’s father-in-law Eshwar Soundatte told TNIE that he too visited these offices, but nothing worked. Not just Ashwini, 12 other people who received compensation cheques are suffering in Bengaluru Urban district. They are, M Nagaraju, Shantamma, Malamma, Muniyamma, Jayamma, Jagadish NS, Sudha, Sharath, Clara Mary, Rathnamma, Jayamma and Sumitra.

TNIE contacted the offices of tahsildar and DC, but there was no response from their end.  

When alerted, Lokayukta Justice BS Patil said, “We will immediately step in to help.’’  

The Soundatte family spent nearly Rs 23 lakh on Santosh’s hospital expenses.

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