Disabled senior citizens have to travel far to get social security allowanceThe government has made it mandatory for beneficiaries to receive their allowance through banks.
Abadesh Kumar Jha
Dhutari Devi Sada suffers from paralysis. Given her condition, going to the bank to collect the Social Security Allowance provided by the government is proving to be an uphill task.
In 2018, the government introduced a system to disburse the monthly social security allowance provided to elderly, disabled and children through banks. While the policy has already come into effect in most urban areas, it is yet to be implemented throughout the country, especially in remote areas.
Dhutari Devi, 70, accompanied by her husband, Siyalal Sada, have to travel almost ten kilometers from their village to the district headquarters in Rajbiraj to collect their allowances every few months.
“The banking system is a big problem for us,” Dhutari Devi said. “With this ailing body, it’s hard to travel long distances. The old-age allowance was meant to help us but instead, with the new policy, it has only added to our troubles.”
To get to Rajbiraj from Parsahi, their village, the couple have to walk on foot for four kilometres to Topa Bazaar and take a tempo for the remaining six kilometres.
The Post met the couple at a tea shop in Topa Bazaar while they were on their way back home after collecting their allowances on Thursday.
“The government allowance is very essential for us,” said Dhutari Devi. “Hence, despite troubles, we are compelled to travel. It would be so much easier for us if we could get the money from the ward office.”
To receive the allowance, the recipient has to be present at the bank in person. Therefore, for Dhutari Devi and many others like her, they have no choice but to make the journey to the headquarters, no matter how worse their conditions.
“The provision of distributing social security benefits through banks was introduced to stop any financial embezzlement,” said Shyam Kumar Singh, chief district officer of Saptari. “Many elderly persons are having trouble reaching the bank but at least this move ensures that the allowances reach the right person. Embezzlement was all too frequent in the past.”
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