Dhaka, Bangladesh
120-yr-old woman still out of coverage

120-yr-old woman still out of coverage

Our Correspondent PATUAKHALI, Oct 14: After her day labourer husband died 30 years ago, Chan Banu, now aged 120, became a dependent of their three sons and three daughters. But all these years, she was left out of the government's Widow Allowance scheme. Being a dependent elderly woman, she had been drifting from one place to another, including the capital Dhaka, to stay with a son or a daughter. As Chan Banu could not live in her home village, in Neelganj under Neelganj union of Kalapara upazila, during most part of the time, she was again left out of Old Age Allowance -- another social security scheme of the government. Three years ago, she moved to Sukhdugi village in neighbouring Dalbuganj union in the same upazila to stay with her eldest son, Aiyub Ali, 80. Aiyub, like his departed father Ashon Ali, is also a day labourer. Now he is too old to provide for his family as well as for his mother. His siblings do not have the financial solvency to support their mother either. Rawson Ara, Aiyub's daughter-in-law who looks after him and Chan Banu, hoped that the departments concerned would bring the two senior citizens under the social security net soon. Aiyub said his mother has been suffering from various illnesses and he cannot afford to bear the expenses of her medical treatment. "At this old age, I can't even earn enough to run my family of six, but my mother does not get any coverage from the government's social security system." "Many are receiving government support under different social security programmes. I am a helpless 120-year old, but I neither get the old age nor the widow allowances," said Chan Banu. When asked how an elderly widow like Chan Banu could be excluded from the list of the government's social security programmes in the union, Dalbuganj Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Abdus Salam Sikder said it might have happened due to her moving out of her permanent residence in Neelganj union. After Chan Banu moved to his union in Neelganj three years back, they could not enlist her for the Old Age Allowance as she did not have her National Identity Card (NID) or birth registration certificate. Contacted, Mizanur Rahman, social welfare officer in Kalapara upazila, said he came to learn about Chan Banu recently and he has already taken steps to bring her under the coverage of Old Age Allowance. He added that he has asked the Dalbuganj UP chairman to issue Chan Banu's birth certificate that will enable them to enlist her as a recipient of the Tk 500 monthly disbursement under the Old Age Allowance scheme.

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