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'Failure' to pay pension led to starvation death of two more persons in Jharkhand

By Our Representative
Two more starvation deaths have occurred in Jharkhand recently, one in Jama (Dumka district) and one in Mahuadanr (Latehar district). In both cases, the victims were pensioners but did not receive any pension payment since January 2019. Had pensions been paid on time, Motka Manjhi and Ramachandra Munda would perhaps be alive today, says a fact-finding report by the Right to Food Campaign (RFC), Jharkhand.
Enquiries from the welfare office in Latehar district revealed that no pensions have been paid in the entire district after January 2019. The reason, the fact-finding team was told, is that the required financial allotments had not been made by the state government. “Reports from other districts suggest that this is the situation in many other districts as well, if not in the entire state”, RFC said in a statement.
“On November 28, 2001, the Supreme Court directed the central and state governments to ensure that social security pensions are promptly paid by the seventh day of each month every month. Nearly 18 years later, this order is still nowhere near being observed in Jharkhand”, it added.
According to RFC, “The discontinuation of pension payments is all the more shocking as Chief Minister Raghubar Das promised to raise pension amounts from Rs 600 per month to Rs 1,000 per month around the beginning of this year. Six months later, the enhanced payments of Rs 1,000 per month are yet to begin. Meanwhile, pension payments have been stopped altogether, in some districts at least.”
Demanding “immediate clearance of the backlog of pension payments, at the enhanced rate of Rs 1,000 per month, throughout the state”, RFC said, there should an “assured pension payments by the 7th day of each month from now on, as per Supreme Court order”, insisting, a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for the families of Motka Manjhi and Ramachandra Munda be paid.

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