Senior citizens, single women and people with disabilities deprived of social security allowance in SirahaThey have been protesting in front of the Bhagawanpur Rural Municipality office for the past two days.
More than 1,200 senior citizens, disabled and single women in Bhagawanpur Rural Municipality in Siraha district have been deprived of the social security allowance owing to the sheer negligence of the local unit.
The elderly people, disabled and single women of the entire local unit have not received the monthly allowance for eight months of the last fiscal year of 2018/19. The budget was frozen because the rural municipality failed to distribute the amount to the beneficiaries on time.
“The rural municipality has not given us our allowance for eight months of the last fiscal year. The local unit has to give us allowance for 12 months in total by the end of Kartik (mid-November). We have received an allowance of only four months,” said Siltu Yadav, 76, of Naraha.
Demanding that they be provided with the allowance of the missed eight months immediately, senior citizens, single women and the disabled have been staging a sit-in in front of the rural municipality office in Bhagawanpur.
On Wednesday, around 300 senior citizens and single women attended the protest programme. They also submitted a week-long ultimatum at the office of the rural municipality. They warned of padlocking the office of the local unit if their demand was not addressed.
The government, through the annual budget, increased the elderly allowance to Rs 3,000 per month from the current fiscal year. Earlier, senior citizens, those above 70 years of age, were entitled to Rs 2,000 as monthly social security allowance.
Dhyani Paswan, 73, of Thadi was at the protest venue. He said he was compelled to join the protest because it has become difficult for him to meet his expenses without the allowance. “We are poor. My wife and I live with our grandson. We somehow eke out a living with the allowance. But since the employees held back our eight months of allowance, we are in a rut,” said Paswan.
Sujit Kumar Yadav, chief administrative officer of the local body, said the budget allocated under the social security allowance was frozen as it was not distributed within the last fiscal year. “The rural municipality could not distribute the allowance due to a shortage of employees. The delay in holding the village council was also one of the reasons for our inability to distribute the budget,” he claimed. According to him, the rural municipality has requested higher authorities to allocate the necessary budget for the same.