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, 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.
“He died at the age of 29. I was 26 year old then. I had two children to support. I took up a job of a teacher to bring them up them. I had made the pension claim at that time,” said Harapriya Devi.
The retired teacher said she ran from pillar to post to get the pension but the authorities turned a deaf ear to her pleadings.
"I used to visit the higher education directorate every year. But to no avail. The official version was that I was not entitled for the 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 servants who retired or died on or before January 1964.
"Finally the officials gave their seal of approval to my claim," the woman 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 had been given to her as settlement of arrears.
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 have been asked to expeditiously settle post-retirement, gratuity and pension claims of college teachers and non-teaching staff.