A woman in Odisha’s Naupara has claimed that she had to pull her 100-year-old mother to the bank on a cot to get the latter’s pension money after the manager demanded physical verification of the account holder. However, the district collector has refuted the claim, saying the woman brought her mother to the bank before the manager could visit their home for verification.
The incident came to light after a video was widely shared on social media showing 60-year-old Punjimati Dei of Bargaon village in Naupara district dragging a cot with her mother lying on it.
In March, the Centre had announced Rs 500 monthly assistance for women Jan Dhan bank account holders from April to June to help the poor tide over the Covid-19 crisis under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package.
According to the villagers, on June 9, Dei went to the local branch of the Utkal Grameen Bank to withdraw Rs 1500 from the account of her bed-ridden mother, Labhe Baghel who is over 100-years-old. However, the bank manager Ajit Pradhan reportedly told her that she had to bring her mother – the account holder – to bank for him to release the money.
Dei claimed that since her mother is bed-ridden, she had no option but to drag her charpoy to the bank on the village’s kutcha road the next day. She added that the manager released the money after the duo went to the bank.
Reacting to the incident after the video went viral, Naupara’s district collector Madhusmita Sahoo, said that the woman took her mother to the bank despite the manager offering to visit their house the next day for verification.
“As the bank is managed by a single person, it was difficult for the manager to go to the woman’s house the same day. However, the manager had assured her that he would visit the woman’s house the next day. Before he would visit, the woman had dragged her mother on a charpoy to the bank,” Sahoo said.
The Reserve Bank of India has time and again advised banks to provide separate basic banking facilities such as delivery of cash against withdrawal from the account, pick up of cash and instruments against receipt, delivery of demand drafts, submission of KYC documents and life certificates for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities at the residence of such customers.