Shimla, January 18
Less than 40 per cent eligible persons have applied for the ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 that the next of kin of people who died of Covid-19 is entitled to. Of 3,740 Covid-related deaths registered with the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) till date, only 1,470 individuals had applied for the financial relief. Besides, only 797 of the total 1,470 claimants had been paid the ex-gratia amount.
Rs17.50 cr disbursed
Claim disbursement is not happening at the desired pace. We have already released Rs17.50 crore about two months ago to all districts. We have written to all Deputy Commissioners and are reviewing the situation. — Sudesh Mokhta, Special Secretary, SDMA
“Claim disbursement is not happening at the desired pace. We have already released Rs 17.50 crore about two months ago to all districts. We have written to all Deputy Commissioners and are reviewing the situation,” says Sudesh Mokhta, special secretary, SDMA.
It may be mentioned that the state government had issued a notification for granting the ex-gratia payment of Rs 50,000 on September 30 following the Supreme Court orders. In the next three and a half months, only around 40 per cent claims were filed, and only around 55 per cent of these were settled.
Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, Aditya Negi says that people are not coming forward to file their claims promptly. “There’s no delay on our part. We are clearing cases as soon as the claimants complete the formalities,” says Negi. “Actually, people are not coming forward to register their claims. Also, in many cases documentation is not complete, which causes delay,” he adds.
Incidentally, the process is not too complicated. “The main document required is the death summary from the hospital. The process is neither time consuming, nor cumbersome,” says a beneficiary, who has received the ex-gratia amount.
“It is possible that some people are not aware of the financial assistance that they are entitled to. In that case, the State Disaster Management Authority can think of running a campaign to inform people,” says Negi.