Kashmiri Widows, Old Age Persons, Handicapped in Distress

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

The old age citizens, widows and physically challenged persons of the valley Kashmir are not receiving any kind of pensions ever since last year floods although hundreds of such people were directly or indirectly hit and suffered by these floods.

Ironically, the Social welfare department the only source of income for such people is tight lipped which used to credit pensions in their bank accounts under different government schemes not a long ago.

“The officials know we suffer when our pensions are not released on time but still they do not react to our complaints “said Zona Begum of Shopian in south Kashmir.

Like Zona, Kashmir Life received complaints from a number of old age persons, widows and physically challenged persons alleging that they did not receive a single penny from the concerned department ever since floods last year.

“We visited the concerned offices many times but found them not interested in listening to our woes,” Zona said adding “there may be their own compulsions, we don’t know.”

Shopian and Kulgam are the two districts where from the majority of complaints have surfaced.

Social welfare department is meant to address problems of weaker sections of the society, like old age persons, women in distress, physically challenged people, mal-nourished children lactating and expecting women, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward classes and various other economically weaker sections of the Society.

The state government has created many schemes to reach the people in distress and it is obligatory upon the Social Welfare Department to implement the said schemes.

“Since my husband’s death fourteen years ago, my only source and way of income remained social welfare department but after the last year floods we are not receiving anything” said Saaja Begum, a widow from south Kashmir.

Majority of the pension holders are holding the government responsible for their plight. “During and after the floods the governance was almost no where functional in the valley and after that election process started and we could find nobody to listen to us, “said, Amir Hussain a handicapped boy.

“When we visit to the banks, the officials inform us to wait for the government formation,” Aamir added.

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