Poet Gopaldas Neeraj, who died recently, had raised concerns over the change in rules in the Yash Bharti pension scheme which the government is likely to restart soon, according to his family members. They said the poet had rejected the revised scheme, which would also see the pension halved.
The pension scheme was started by former chief minister and SP patron Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1995. But every time the SP went out of power, it was stopped. When the BJP came to power last year, the government stopped the pension and ordered a probe alleging anomalies.
“It was scrapped by Mayawati and restarted by Akhilesh Yadav, who hiked it to Rs 50,000 per month. Then the BJP government stopped it and ordered a probe. We, and even Neerajji, always said a probe is okay but why stop the pension? It was the only source for him to run his house and pay for medicines,” said Shashank Prabhakar, Neeraj’s son.
“Neerajji wrote to the government. He even met the CM and Governor. He was offered a pension of Rs 25,000, which he refused. This amount covered just a month’s medication. The BJP government is disrespecting our poets and cultural heroes. It disrespected Neerajji.”
State Culture Minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary said they had to put conditions for the pension as they had to keep the economically weak in mind.