Youths draw pension while old left out
Large scale irregularities in the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana have surfaced in the rural and urban areas of Jagatsinghpur district. While many youngsters are availing the benefit through fake papers, the deserving ones are a deprived lot.
As per the information received through Right to Information (RTI), hundreds of persons in the age group of 35 to 45 have changed their ages in the electoral roll to avail pension benefits. There are many who have also been drawing pension in the name of beneficiaries who have died. This has deprived the eligible pensioners, particularly in Jagatsinghpur Municipality, of getting pension for the last four years.
Following the revelation, Sub-Collector Brajbandhu Bhol has directed Jagatsinghpur Municipality authority to stop old age pension of 37 persons in Deobhog village of Ward-13 under Jagatsinghpur Municipality as they had allegedly manipulated their ages in the voter list. As per the RTI document, 37 persons have been changing their ages in voter list on many occasions within last four years and enrolling as persons aged between 60 and 65 years to avail pension under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana. Former zilla parishad member Binod Bihari Nayak who had sought the RTI clarification and villagers have alleged that errant officials have disbursed old age pension to fake beneficiaries due to pressure from political leaders.
The fake beneficiaries have been drawing monthly allowance of ` 300 each by forging voter list in connivance with the concerned department, they alleged.
While one of the beneficiaries Manoj Kumar Das hailing from Deobhog village is 39 years, his age has been mentioned as 62. Another woman Sunamani Bisoi’s age has been changed from 35 to 65. In one of the cases, the age of mother and son are equal. There are nearly 50 such cases in this village and over 500 in this Municipality alone.
Executive Officer, Jagatsinghpur Municipality Saroj Kumar Sarangi said, “After getting the directive from Sub-Collector, we have stopped the old age pension of these fake beneficiaries.”
Besides this, a large number of irregularities on payment of old age pension had been detected in Biridi block where more than 100 youths were collecting old age
pension by forging documents. One Nayana Barik, who was supposed to get pension but has not been given, alleged that she was denied the pension as she failed to grease the palms of the authorities concerned. “I am living in a pathetic state after the death of my husband three years back. Officials demanded `500 to sanction the old-age pension. I couldn’t give them the money so they did not help me,” said another woman.