Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam Monday ordered restoration of pension to Urdu poet Asrar Jamayee, days after it surfaced that he was “declared dead” in 2013.
Power of social media : Delhi minister Rajendra Pal Gautam meets Urdu poet Asar Jamei and assured him timely pension. pic.twitter.com/vU5nopvP6b— ASHUTOSH MISHRA (@ashu3page) June 19, 2017
The minister gave the direction after visiting the 80-year-old poet at his residence in south Delhi and also asked officials to probe into the circumstances that led to his name being removed from the records.
Jamayee was deprived of a monthly pension of Rs 1,500 when South Delhi’s social welfare department declared him dead in 2013. Since then, he has been living alone and vainly reaching out to successive Delhi governments under Sheila Dikshit and Arvind Kejriwal.
Jamayee, who has published four books of poetry and booklets, has devoted his life to Urdu. His satire was admired by the likes of APJ Abdul Kalam, Rajiv Gandhi and Lalu Prasad Yadav, who invited him to recite his poetry at official and private functions.
The poet recollects how the social welfare department officials got worked up when he first tried to prove that he was perfectly alive to claim his old age pension.
“I told them, ‘I am standing in front of you, what could be greater proof [that I am alive]? The official replied that he knew that I was alive, but he couldn’t help me because the records insisted I was dead.” he told Scroll.
His visit to the local MLA’s office in 2015 for his pension met with a similar treatment, where he was handed out a cheque for Rs 1,000 that was never honoured.
What do the concerned officials say?
Over the reports of the eminent being “declared dead”, a senior official claimed he “wasn’t declared dead but only his name had gone missing”.
“Beneficiaries need to submit living certificates annually to avail of the benefits. At times, names are struck off from the list of beneficiaries if people don’t submit. The probe will find out as to what happened,” he said.
What is currently being done?
After numerous media reports highlighting the plight of the octogenarian, many on social media thought it important to flag it to the concerned officials, forcing the government to order probe into the matter.
After Deputy Chief Minster Manish Sisodia directed him to correct the gaffe, Gautam Monday visited Jamayee’s residence in south Delhi and ordered pension of Jamayee to be restored.
Gautam told Scroll that “the poet’s name was removed from the records during a drive against “unlawful beneficiaries” of the old age pension scheme for the poor.
“He [Jamayee] did not turn up to produce necessary documents annually and when teams were sent to his residence, he was not found there. However, this should not have happened. The department has been asked to get his bank pass book updated and help him link his bank account with Aadhaar card. His pension will be restored from this month.” Gautam said.
With inputs from PTI)
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