|Geeta Pal outside Ghosh’s office in Burdwan. Picture by Krishna Das
Burdwan, Sept. 10: Thrice she was shown the door, today the 75-year-old widow saw a ray of hope.
Geeta Pal, who was driven out by her two sons and brothers in Burdwan, was promised a pension by the district welfare officer.
Villagers of Jamalpur today found a weeping Geeta at a Shiva temple and took her to the district magistrate’s office. He not being there, Geeta was taken to district welfare officer Prabhas Ghosh, who gave her a patient hearing.
“Hers is a pathetic story. I have accepted her application for a pension. I will give it top priority,” Ghosh said.
“I will personally take up Geeta Pal’s case with subdivisional officer (south) Maitrayee Gangopadhyay so that the elderly lady gets an accommodation along with the monthly pension of Rs 750.”
Geeta, who lost her farmer husband 50 years ago, brought up her two sons and two daughters with the money her husband had left back. His property included a 10-bigha plot, a two-storeyed house on 15 cottahs, a pond at Sure Kalna in Jamalpur and some gold ornaments.
Her daughters were married off three years ago and the septuagenarian stayed with her elder son Chandranath, his wife and their son. Six months ago, Geeta said, Chandranath, a tailor, suggested they sell off half their property and construct another two-storeyed building for both the brothers. “I signed the papers he showed me,” Geeta said. “I didn’t know the papers said half of my husband’s property would go to him.”
A few days ago, Geeta was told to leave the house and stay with her younger son.
On narrating her plight to her younger son, he demanded she write off his portion of the property. When she yielded, he also drove her out last month.
The widow then went to her brothers at Inatpur, a few kilometres away from Sure Kalna, but they also did not keep her after coming to know that she had written off the property to her sons.
A district official quoted the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents’ and Senior Citizen’s Act, 2007, and said earning sons or daughters have to give at least 20 per cent of their earnings or cash up to Rs 10,000 a month towards maintenance of their elderly parents. “In default, the accused sons or daughters may be jailed for a month,” he added.