Financial assistance still eludes families of poor Covid victims

Thodupuzha: The Kerala government has not provided the promised financial assistance to the family members of Covid-19 victims from BPL (Below Poverty Line) families.

The authorities had earlier announced financial assistance of Rs 5,000 per month for three years to the relatives of these Covid victims. The chief minister gave the promise soon after the cabinet meeting held on October 13, 2021. He said the amount would be transferred to bank accounts within 30 days of submission of applications and no one would face any difficulty in getting the grants.

However, government support was extended to families only once in the following 14 months. The applicants, for the first and last time, received Rs 5,000 last September.

The village officials who received the requests or the district administration officials have no information on the matter. The Department of Health is also in the dark about the source of the payment. In September, it was paid from the treasury account. However, the Finance department has not received any further instructions regarding the extension of the financial aid.

“Who will pay the expense is not clear,” the sources said.

A total of 474 beneficiaries received Rs 5,000 in September. An amount of Rs 23.7 lakh was then spent from the Chief Minister’s Emergency Fund.

After last year’s announcement, the Government received more than 20,000 applications, but only accepted 5,969. However, the Finance Department has not yet given its approval.

The government also initially failed to pay Rs 50,000 each as ex-gratia, promised to the relatives of victims who died due to Covid. Finally, the amount was distributed following the strict guidelines of the Supreme Court.

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