Yavatmal: As many as 165 physically challenged and old persons, who have not received their pension for two years under government schemes, have sought permission from President Pranab Mukherjee for killing themselves on January 26 if their grievances are not addressed by then. On Friday, they submitted a signed memorandum, addressed to the President, to the Tehsildar (revenue official) in Yavatmal.
In the memorandum, the persons have appealed to the President to direct the authorities to solve their problems before January 25 or grant them permission for taking their lives on the Republic Day, according to official sources.
The petitioners, who hail from 54 villages of Yavatmal district in eastern Maharashtra, are beneficiaries of various government-sponsored schemes such as old age pension, widow pension and Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana. The signatories of the memorandum have alleged they have not been paid their monthly pension for the last two years, forcing them to live in penury and starvation.
The affected people had taken out rallies in support of their demand in 2012, but nothing has come out. "We have made a number of representations to the Tehsildar and the SDO and requested them to release the pension but of no avail," said Sudam Khandare, who had taken part in the rallies.
"It is better to die honourably than lead a life of utter poverty and starvation," said Saira Bi Sheikh Saibu, one of the pensioners. "We have sought permission for killing ourselves as we find no other way out to ensure a dignified life," she said.
When contacted, District Collector Ashwin Mudgal said the Tehsildar had received the representation addressed to the President and efforts were on to expedite the pending cases on basis of the Aadhar card. He said there were bogus beneficiaries of the schemes and hence release of pension was stopped.