The Kerala government’s financial woes have taken a toll on its ability to fulfill essential obligations, including the timely payment of salaries and pensions. Among the worst affected are the recipients of welfare pensions, such as those provided by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). The failure to receive these funds has plunged many elderly individuals into dire circumstances, leaving them without means to afford basic necessities like medicine and food.
In a tragic turn of events, reports have emerged from Adimaly, Idukki district, highlighting the despair faced by these individuals. Struggling with the prospect of a bleak future and with no relief in sight, some individuals have contemplated ending their lives.
Sivadasan (72) and his wife Omana (65), an elderly couple, seek euthanasia, the mercy killing. They have put up a board in front of their house which seeks mercy killing and laments over financial crisis. It reads:
Ready for mercy killing.
Authorities, please let us live.
Eyes, hearts and kidneys available
Pension not generosity, but rights.
With folded hands
Physically challenged, old couple.
Reports suggest that 58 lakh people, belonging to weaker sections, have not got welfare pensions for the last six months. Total arrears amount to Rs 4,600 cr. Last payment belonged to August even though it was said to be paid in December 2023.
Sivadasan and Omana said that they are compelled to stage the unprecedented protest on Friday as they do not have any means for their livelihood. This is not the first time that elderly people resort to unseen methods of protest in light of the mounting social welfare pension. A few weeks ago, two elderly women protested in the street carrying begging bowls in their hands.
Mariyakkutty and Annamma Joseph were protesting against the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government’s failure in paying their pensions. We covered that report on December 22, 2023. To begin with, LDF people spread an utter lie that Mariyakkuty (85) was rich, her daughter was working abroad hence the protest is a drama. When she moved the High Court for the earliest payment of her widow pension, the state’s counsel made a controversial remark that Mariyakkuttty’s petition was politically motivated. The Court took strong exception to the anti-Mariyakkutty propaganda. Court said, ‘Mariyakkuty is a VIP’ and she was entitled to receive her pension.
Recently, Ponnamma (90), another elderly woman, staged a protest, against the delay in the distribution of pensions, in Vandipperiyar, again in Idukki district. She sat on a chair in the middle of the road from 7am to 9pm on February 7. At last, when police came and promised her to take up the issue with the authorities, Ponnamma ended the protest.
Last month, Joshi (53), a victim of Rs 344 cr fraud in the CPM-ruled Karuvannur Cooperative Bank scam, wrote to Hon. Kerala High Court and the chief minister of the state seeking permission for euthanasia if there is no chance to get his deposit from the bank. Bank reportedly owes him Rs 90 lakhs.
In other words, life is not easy for poor people in the state. The government is lavishly spending without any sort of kindness towards the poor.