Sitapur district, UP
Chotte Lal is again a story of poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and helplessness. He has come to Delhi thinking his future will be better if his voice reaches the right quarters. He is participating in the demonstration for social assistance.
Back in his village, Alipur in Sitapur district, Lal had to borrow Rs 600 to pay to pradhan who promised his name will be included among the pension beneficiaries. However, despite filling in the required form thrice, 65-year-old Lal has not been able to get any support.
“Pradhan does not forward my form,” he says. Lal has two sons and one daughter. Of the five bighas of land he had, he has given away two bighas each to his sons and has only one bigha left for himself and his wife.
Besides, tilling the land, Lal also gets employed under rural employment program or as brick worker. At times, he goes out of his village to work. When it rains, the land provides him wheat but the rest of the things he needs to purchase. He manages to work only 10-12 days in a month. What is worse is that NREGA money does not come all at one go. He hardly manages to earn Rs 3000 in a month.
In the name of government support, he has BPL card which provides him with wheat, sugar, salt etc. However, even this supply is not regular with the shopkeeper often claiming he is out of stock.
“As I am aging, I cannot work as much as I used to. Thus, I prefer light work. My sons sometimes help, but they have to support their own families. I want pension and, a decent amount keeping in view the prices of essential commodities, ” Lal says.