Pensioners’ Paradise? She got Rs 40 this month

Of the Rs 600 pension that K Pramila gets every month, Rs 500 was deducted as ‘minimum balance’ for her post office account and Rs 60 was spent on travelling

K Pramila, a 63-year-old widow, has been receiving pension for more than a decade now. Without any source of income, it is this Rs 600 a month that would help her buy essentials to get by month after month.

But this month, Pramila, who had taken an auto rickshaw to get to the Post Office in Sivanchetti Garden from her house in Kallahalli had to return home with just Rs 40.

When she reached the post office, she was informed that she has to leave at least Rs 500 in the account as minimum balance. So she could take just Rs 100, of which she paid Rs 60 for the auto fare. “I went to the Post Office expecting to withdraw Rs 600 but the Post Office staff told me that I am eligible to withdraw only Rs 100 as I need to maintain a minimum balance of Rs 500 in the savings account,’’ Pramila told Bangalore Mirror.

I have not received any complaint. If anyone comes to the General Post Office and lodges a complaint, I will look into the matter

­–Deputy Chief Post Master General

She said that he returned home with just Rs 40 after paying Rs 60 to the autorickshaw driver. “I have no one to look after me. I have to depend on the rice I get from the Fair Price Shop for survival. I have no money even to buy cooking oil and other ingredients for this month,’’ Pramila said.

According to P Kalidasa Reddy, a social activist, Pramila has been staying in a rented house but the owner of the building has stopped collecting rent from her for quite a long time. “Her husband died more than a decade ago. She has to depend on relatives and neighbours to buy medicines that cost around Rs 1,000 for diabetes,’’ said Reddy.

Lakhs of senior citizens and widows receive pension from Post Offices across the state. All of them have opened Savings Accounts

at the Post Offices in their jurisdiction to receive the pension. All these years, they have been withdrawing the amount as per their needs and convenience. “I have been getting a pension of Rs 1,000 since I am above 65 years. I got only Rs 500 this month. They told me that I am eligible to withdraw Rs 1,000 from next month,’’ said B Radha, a resident of Kallahalli.

It was the same with Dorairaj, a senior citizen. He visited the Post Office expecting to withdraw his pension of Rs 1,000 but was allowed to withdraw only Rs 500. After coming to know about the new norm of maintaining the minimum balance, five to six senior citizens and widows cancelled their plan of visiting the Post Office.

Pramila receives Rs 600 as monthly pension of which she got just Rs 100 this month; She and other pensioners were left with nothing after keeping Rs 500 in the savings accounts

When contacted, the Post Master of Sivanchetti Gardens Post Office said that he merely followed the direction from the higher authorities.

However, the Deputy Chief Post Master General said that he can look into the matter if any pensioner lodges a complaint. “I have not received any complaint from the pensioners. If anyone comes to the General Post Office and lodges a complaint, I will look into the matter,’’ the Deputy Chief Post Master General said.

Meanwhile, Nagaraj M of Human Rights Social Justice Liberties Active Forum, said they would take up the issue with the Chief Post Master General. “It is not fair for the postal authorities to insist that widows and senior citizens must maintain minimum balance,’’ Nagaraj said.

While Karnataka State Human Rights Commission refused to comment on the issue since the Postal Department does not come under its purview, an official of the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi, said the NHRC can issue a notice to the department concerned if a written complaint is filed with it.

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Sagar Biswas

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