Harapriya Devi, 77, used to visit the Higher Education Directorate every year but to no avail

A septuagenarian widow has received family pension after waiting for over half a century for it. Harapriya Devi, 77, whose husband died while serving as a lecturer in the English department in Bhubaneswar’s BJB College died in 1962, received the pension in September this year.

Her husband, Janakinath Nanda Choudhury, had served in Odisha's premier college from 1954 to 1962 before he drowned in Mahanadi river at Jobra in Cuttack city on June 3, 1962, Haripriya Devi said, recounting the tragic incident at her home here. “He died at the age of 29. I was 26 years old then. I had two children to support and I took up the job of a teacher to bring them up. I had made the pension claim at that time,” she told PTI on Saturday. The retired teacher said she ran from pillar to post for getting the pension but the authorities turned a deaf ear to her pleading. "I used to visit the Higher Education Directorate every year, but to no avail, she said. The official version was that I was not entitled for family pension scheme as my husband had not completed ten years in service to be eligible for it," she said. Unwilling to give up her battle against the government's red tape, the feisty woman sent letters stating that the Orissa pension rules had been amended and as per gazette notification no-68/86 pension was provided to families of State government employees who retired or died on or before January 1964.

"Finally the officials gave their seal of approval to my claim," she said, adding she has been sanctioned Rs 6,000 as monthly pension -- a princely amount compared to her husband's salary of Rs 340 per month at the time of his death. "Besides Rs 6.7 lakh has been given to her as settlement. Asked to comment on the incident, State Higher Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra said, "We are happy to know that the widow of a college lecturer has got her due. He also said that the officials had been asked to expeditiously settle post-retirement, gratuity and pension claims of college teachers and non-teaching staff." - PTI

Harapriya Devi, 77, used to visit the Higher Education Directorate every year but to no avail