The employees said in a statement in Kollam on Saturday that the Minister’s statement was politically motivated and was made without understanding the ground realities. V. Srikanth, Kollam coordinator of the NFPE, said the State government replacing the money order delivery system with the bank deposit system was the root cause of the difficulties encountered by the beneficiaries. He said that under the money order system, the local postman used to hand over the pension to the beneficiary at the latter’s door step promptly each month. This system prevailed till August this year after which the State government decided to disburse welfare pensions only through the bank or postal savings accounts of beneficiaries.
That was to save the commission on money orders. NFPE leader Mathews Mathew said now the beneficiaries had to go to the post offices or banks to get their pension. A good majority of them came on the last or first day of the month, and this created a crowd. Even the aged and the weak had to stand in queue and sign the withdrawal form. Though they had an ATM card, the majority did not know how to use it and disliked operating it through others.
The beneficiaries include widows, senior citizens, and physically challenged persons.
Many of them arrive at post offices early in the morning to get into queues. Mr. Mathews said that shortage of postal staff and other facilities at post offices had also affected the new system. Yet the existing staff gave top priority to pension distribution.
He said that this month, because of the elections, dues of several months of pension were credited. The beneficiaries arrived in huge numbers. When a new system was introduced it led to problems. Instead of understanding that, government authorities should not pass the buck, he said.
Source : The Hindu , 1st Nov 2015