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Widow dead in govt files, proves otherwise
- ‘Demise’ occurs if pensioner goes missing during half-yearly verification in ward, says official

She is alive, but Ranchi district administration officials declared her dead and buried four months ago by stopping her widow pension.

After unsuccessfully trying to get hold of officials at the district collectorate for months to convince them she was alive, Khairun Nisa (53) on Wednesday requested Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) councillor Arun Kumar Jha of ward No. 37 — where she is a voter — to declare her living on a certificate.

After hearing out her story and examining her voter ID card, Jha certified she was alive. Khairun Nisa submitted the document to the office of subdivisional officer-cum-magistrate Ameet Kumar, but is yet to get a positive signal.

“I used to get pension under state social security pension scheme since 1981 after death of my husband, Jamil. An amount of Rs 400 used to be credited to my bank every month. It stopped four months ago. When I contacted government officials at district collectorate, they told me government records say I am dead. I told them I am alive. But they did not agree,” Khairun Nisa recounted.

As a last resort, she said she went to ward councillor Jha.

“I thank my councillor for doing his bit. Now, I am waiting for district officials to realise I am alive,” said the widow, adding she was exhausted with the process.

When contacted, a government official, on the condition of anonymity, said the problem was genuine.

“She earlier resided in Islam Nagar, which falls under ward No. 16 of the RMC. After the anti-encroachment drive, Islam Nagar got demolished. The lady took refuge in Azad Hind Nagar, Harmu, which falls under ward No. 37. Thus, during physical verification in ward No. 16, she was absent. After consultation with the councillor of ward No. 16, she was declared dead,” the official said.

Subdivisional officer Ameet Kumar, also magistrate, admitted to such problems. “Ranchi district has 57,000 people getting different types of pension. This kind of problem happens if a beneficiary does not turn up before government officials during physical verification, which happens every six months. Government officials physically verify the presence of a pensioner before the area’s ward councillor. If a beneficiary is absent, pension stops,” he said.

But there’s good news for Khairun Nisa too. “Once the pensioner is declared alive and the pension starts, he or she gets arrears too,” Kumar said.

Have you or anyone in your family faced an official identity mix-up? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com