Madhya Pradesh

Chouhan announces to resume pension for gas-hit widows

Bhopal: Paying rich tributes to the victims of Bhopal Gas disaster, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Sunday announced resumption of pension to gas-hit widows.
Making the announcement during the all-religion prayer meeting convened pay tributes to the people who died in the gas disaster on its 33rd anniversary, Chouhan said there will be no compromise on healthcare and support of the victims.
Chouhan’s announcement comes as a major relief for about 2,000 women who are dependent on government assistance for survival. The pension to gas victims was stopped by the district administration two years ago citing lack of funds. “The government has taken steps to cater to medical and rehabilitation needs of the victims,” said Chouhan.

“Pension would be released to the beneficiaries, as soon as we receive a written directive,” said a district administration official.
Gas activists are sceptical after their experiences in the past, when the district administration had not released the pension of widows citing rules and regulations. Moreover, it is still not clear whether pension arrears since 2015 would be released or not. There are about 2,000 such beneficiaries. Widows get a paltry pension of Rs 1,000 per month.
Over the past two weeks, many of the affected have protested and urged the state government to take corrective action. Last week, at a press conference organised by Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPMUS), the widows had narrated how their families have neglected them. In 2010, some widows had tied rakhi to Chouhan and he made ‘raksha bandhan’ pledge to give life-time pension to all of them.
Activist organisations have welcome the annoucement by Chouhan saying it would go a long way in helping the widows.

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