When 66 year old Sajani Bewa from Mahinsasura village in Odisha’s Kendrapara district reached the gram panchayat office to receive her Rs 300 monthly old age pension, it was a pleasant surprise as panchayat employees paid her excess sum of Rs 300. As she was about to leave the pension counter, she was told to share it with a fellow pension holder. The pension holders had to undergo the ordeal of knocking at the doors of nationalised bank to exchange the demonetised Rs 500 note. With the bank bursting with crowd, Sajani had to spend an hour to exchange the demonetised currency note. Like Sajani, many others had to face the ordeal as chaos prevailed in distribution of pension in the district. As the government doles out social security scheme pension to the elderly people on 15th of every month, pensioners had to bear the brunt of centre’s demonetisation move in various rural pockets of Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur districts.
“I was paid a sum of Rs 600 that included a demonitised note for two months’ pension. I refused to take it. But they forced me to accept it and get it exchanged either in the post office or bank. I have asked my son to get it exchanged at the bank”, commented a pensioner from Alipingala gram panchayat, Rajendra Mohanty. Over 100 pensioners were left high and dry in Ramnagar in Kendrapara as they returned empty handed following non-navailability of cash in panchayat office. The pension could not be distributed on Tuesday as the bank failed to provide us cash. It will be distributed at a later date. We had to beg apology to the senior citizens for the inconvenience caused to them, said Ramnagar Sarpanch, Bikash Chandra Debraj.