TREASURY OF ILLS?
TROUBLE IN PENSIONERS’ PARADISE
Treasury Dept Stinks Pensions Pending For 6 Months Officials Blame Erratic Power Supply
Nirmala M Nagaraj | TNN
Bangalore: The Global Investors’ Meet may have raked in a grand Rs 3 lakh crore (if only on paper) from investors across the globe, but the state of the state treasury department, the repository of wealth and centre of all monetary transactions, is simply poor.
A visit to the Bangalore District Urban treasury office at MySugar building on JC Road reveals its true status — old, broken furniture dumped in a corner, torn window curtains, papers and files scattered amid dust and to top it, an unbearable toilet stench. Sadly, state treasury officers work amid these pathetic conditions.
With this working environment, it comes as no surprise that it has affected the overall functioning of the government machinery. If local economic requirements are not being met, what will happen to global ones?
AGED WAIT FOR PENSION
Something as fundamental as pension has been delayed for more than six months by the inefficient treasury department. Widow pension, old age pension and pension allocated to the physically handicapped are waiting to be disbursed for more than six months now.
Officials blame it on the shortage of power supply. “Without power, we can’t operate computers and this has affected data entry and regular disbursal of pension, as well as adding new pension beneficiaries. Because of this, widows’ pension has been delayed but we will pay them arrears from the date of notification of sanctioning pension,” said Lakshmi, a treasury officer.
In Bangalore district alone, there are 51,250 widow pension beneficiaries, 48,678 old age pensioners and 47,174 Sandhya Suraksha beneficiaries, while more than 20,969 physically handicapped persons are dependent on the monthly pension amount.
With the delay in pension and without any communication from the department, the physically handicapped and senior citizens are regular visitors here to enquire about their pension status. With a dysfunctional lift at the treasury office, the disabled and senior citizens are forced to take the disabled-unfriendly, uncleaned stairs.
FREEDOM FIGHTERS OUT IN THE COLD
If the inefficient unit of the treasury department on JC Road has affected widows and the physically handicapped, at the Pension Payment Treasury at K R Circle, New Public Office Building, the freedom fighters of the Goa Liberation Movement (GLM) are still waiting for approval of pension.
G Krishnamurthy, 76, shared his ordeal: “More than 2,225 of us participated in the GLM movement. From 1991, they sanctioned pension, but in 1995, due to a stay order issued by the high court, pension was stopped. During the JD(S)-BJP government, pension was promised and announced in the budget, but when the government fell, even the promise was forgotten.
In 2008, on approaching chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and after scrutiny, 1,312 of us were found eligible for pension, of whom 172 are from Bangalore.”
Officials are helpless but have not lost hope. Deputy director Uma Devi R S told The Times of India: “We have submitted eight proposals requesting a new building to the district commissioner. I took charge of the department in 2008 and before joining, I signed a letter asking for a new building. The present rented office is in MySugar building and its owner is under a huge loss. It may take years for the owner to clear the outstanding amount, so we can’t expect the building owner to improve infrastructure and make it accessible to visiting pensioners.”
“In 2008, there were 82,000 beneficiaries, today there are 2.5 lakh beneficiaries from all four categories. With limited staff, it is difficult to handle these transactions.
All these days, we had to manually prepare 2 lakh money orders, but recently we introduced an e-money order facility,” added Uma Devi.