January 2, 2010

INDIA: Justice eludes widow for 38 yrs

. PATNA, Bihar / The Times of India / News / January 2, 2010 By Bhuvaneshwar Prasad, Times News Network KISHANGANJ: Lalita Devi kept running from pillar to post. Now at 75, this widow of a railway employee, in failing health, has given up all hopes of getting her family pension and other benefits that were due after her husband died of tuberculosis in New Jalpaiguri. She even petitioned the Prime Minister and then President, APJ Abdul Kalam, but to no avail. Although 38 years have passed, Lalita is yet to get her dues. Her husband — Kanai Chandra Das — was appointed a porter at Kachna in North Dinajpur district on compassionate grounds after the untimely death of his father, Ganesh Chandra Das. He was transferred to Maniharighat station under Katihar division. Illustrative photo of widows in Bihar. Courtesy: indiadivine.org After that station was wound up, Kanai was shifted to New Jalpaiguri. There, he contracted tuberculosis while working as a sweeper there. Kanai died in hospital three months later. “All I got was a paltry sum of Rs 5,000. Rs 4,000 in cash and a money order remittance of Rs 1,000 from the railways after my husband died,” she said. Lalita kept approaching railway officials at Katihar for family pension and other benefits, but they would always turn her away on one pretext or the other. “What is the meaning of life. I have absolutely nothing nor can I approach anyone for what is due to me,” rued Lalita. Her only sustenance is the meagre old-age pension and some frugal income of her rickshawpuller son. Katihar division additional divisional railway manager Gopal Kumar said: “I will look into Lalita Devi’s grievances.” [rc] Copyright © 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd.