Sitapur district, UP
Fifty-five-year-old Sarju from Tehni village in Sitapur district is left with no source of income. He suffers from breathing ailment and thus cannot work. Though he has stopped smoking and all forms of tobacco, his breathing trouble has made him completely helpless. While he earns nothing he spends on medicines and injections every month. Strange enough, he had to pay Rs 40 for making slip in a government hospital to get treatment, yet he has to purchase medicines and injections.
Sarju is in Delhi hoping for pension considering his health. He has two sons and two bighas of land. His wife died eight years back. When healthy, Sarju used to travel kilometers to get employment. Now, his sons come to Delhi to work as labourers. They give him money for treatment whenever possible, but Sarju knows they themselves are hard pressed for money.
“I do not know where to go for pension since I am illiterate. Somebody should help people like me to get enrolled in the scheme,” he says. With little information, Sarju paid Rs 500 to middleman who promised him pension. He has filled in the form for pension twice.
“Life is hopeless. There is not enough food. Several times I sleep empty stomach. If I start getting pension, life will be a bit better. He has red card to substantiate his poor economic status but to get this he had to pay Rs 200!