We had to pay even to get the pension approved, says Huchesh Yandigeri, a resident of Bagalkot. Yandigeri is entitled to a pension since he is disabled.
Yandigeri and six others rode to Freedom Park from Bagalkot on Saturday. “We’ve come prepared to stay as long as the fasting goes on,” says Karnataka Physically Handicapped Federation vice-president Ghanshyam T Bhandage, who led the group from Bagalkot. The polio-afflicted men receive a pension of `1,000 per month, but the application process and sanctioning of pension was not easy. “I was asked to pay a bribe but I did not. Not paying is rare,” he says.
“I had to bribe the doctor to certify me as disabled so I could get the pension. The officer who sanctioned the pension had to be paid off too,” adds Bhandage. He says he is a recipient of state and national awards. Did he have to shell out bribes for those too? “No. I worked hard for those. We don’t to win awards by giving bribes,” he says. The Jan Lokpal Bill holds much promise, they say. “The poor are harassed even for getting food grain through PDS. The Jan Lokpal Bill will help the poorest. They will at least have the essentials such as like food and clothing,” says Yandigeri. But it will take a lot of “not giving and not taking,’ he warns.
“We need a powerful Lokayukta that can raidhomes and offices of the corrupt. This law will put fear in them,” says Raghu Hubballi, who works for an NGO.
The Member of Parliament Local Area Development Division is entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS). Under the scheme, each MP has the choice to suggest to the District Collector for, works to the tune of Rs.2 Crores per annum to be taken up in his/her constituency.