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Senior citizens at their wits’ end

December 02, 2016 01:33 am | Updated 09:48 am IST - GURUGRAM/NEW DELHI

Tough time:  Many elderly people who visited the head post office in Gurugram to withdraw their pensions returned empty-handed.  Photo: Special Arrangement

Tough time: Many elderly people who visited the head post office in Gurugram to withdraw their pensions returned empty-handed. Photo: Special Arrangement

Many elderly people were left disappointed when they went to withdraw their pensions at the head post office in Sadar Bazar here on Thursday. The cash ran out within 30 minutes and only a few people managed to grab a share.

The post office has around 1,100 pension accounts, including the Haryana Old Age Pension accounts, but it has been facing a severe cash crunch.

Short supply

Assistant Post Master Satish Kumar told The Hindu that the post office catered to around 45 smaller post offices in the region and received Rs.40-Rs.50 lakh every day against a requirement of Rs.2 crore.

“We cater to more than 7,000 pension holders in the region. To avoid inconvenience to them, we have directed our staff not to withdraw more than Rs.10,000 from their salary accounts,” said Mr. Kumar, adding that withdrawals had gone up by 25 per cent over the past one week and deposits were showing a downward trend.

Om Prakash, 69, a retired Post Department official, said he was not hopeful getting cash even after waiting for two hours.

Inconvenience

“I am in dire need of cash. I want to withdraw Rs.20,000, but I doubt I will be allowed to withdraw that much. So, I will have to come back all the way from Hira Nagar on Friday,” said Mr. Prakash.

“It is my third visit to the post office over the past many days. On Thursday, I came early expecting to withdraw my pension, but the cash is yet to reach the post office. I spoke to the officials, but they are non-committal on whether cash will be disbursed on Thursday,” complained retired Haryana Police Assistant Sub-Inspector Ram Kishan.

Another pensioner, Jagwanti Verma, said she needed Rs.15,000, but the post officials had refused to disburse more than Rs.10,000.

“It is disgusting when you cannot withdraw your own money. How many times do I need to come to this post office to withdraw cash,” asked Ms. Verma, whose husband was a Post Department official.

‘Prefer to wait’

Sutikshan Kumar, 67, a retired postman, was among the few who missed the opportunity completely.

“The cash got over before I came. But I would prefer to wait till evening rather than come back on Friday. We support demonetisation, but the elderly should be spared the pain,” said Mr. Kumar.

Meanwhile, K.L. Sharma, who retired from a private bank in the Capital, claimed he had to use his “staff connection’’ to jump a queue outside a bank in central Delhi.

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