77-year-old widow gets husband&’s pension after 51 years
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Kendrapara, 4 October
A 77-year-old widow has finally become the recipient of a family pension after wrangling for half a century with bureaucratic red tape.
Ms Harapriya Devi, whose husband, Janakinath Nanda Choudhury, died in 1962 while serving as an English department lecturer in Bhubaneswar&’s BJB College, said her perseverance paid off despite the authorities’ insensitivity towards her.
"I used to visit the higher education directorate every year from time to time. The official version was that I was not entitled for family pension scheme. The officials had put forth their argument that my husband had not completed ten-year-service stint to come under the pension scheme," she said.
Ms Devi, who was 26 years old when her husband died with two children to support, did not lose hope and took up a teaching position and pursued her claims for the pension.
Side by side with the misfortune that had befallen her, Devi&’s half a century encounter with the labyrinthine complexities of governmental red-tape began. Devi said the ordeal was excruciating, nonetheless, she fought for her legitimate claim and her perseverance paid dividend fifty years after her husband’s death.
"I pressed forth my claim by stating that the Orissa Pension rules had been amended as the gazette notification no-68/86 which covered the pension to families of state government servants who retired or died before 1 January 1964. Finally the officials gave seal of approval to my claim. I have been sanctioned Rs 6,000-a-month pension. Besides Rs 6.70 lakh sum has also been disbursed to me as settlement of arrears. My husband was drawing Rs 340 monthly salary then," she informed.
Higher education minister Badri Narayan Patra said, “We are happy to know that the widow of the college lecturer has got her due. The officials have been asked to expeditiously settle all post-retirement claims of college teachers and non-teaching staffs”.