Families of BPL Covid victims yet to get promised Rs 5,000 per month

COVID-19: Dangerous Delta still holds sway in Kerala, Omicron spread limited so far
Health workers carry a Covid-19 patient to be admitted to a hospital on January 22. FILE PHOTO: PTI

Thiruvananthapuram: The government has not provided the promised monthly payment of Rs 5,000 to families of COVID-19 victims falling under the Below Poverty Line (BPL).

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had assured that Rs 5,000 each would be granted a month for three years to BPL families that had lost a member to COVID-19. While making the assurance after a cabinet meeting on October 13, 2021, the chief minister also said that no one would have to make office visits for the grant.

Of the more than 20,000 online applications the government had received over the past eight-and-a-half months, only 5,969 were approved. Still, the promise amount was not provided to anyone.

While about 4,000 applications were rejected citing the absence of adequate documents, the remaining applications have been stuck in uncertainty.

The government's decision was to pay the amount from the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund. The Finance Department, however, had not yet approved the granting of the amount since a decision on the account head under which it should be included has been pending.

The Land Revenue Commissionarate said the procedures to implement the scheme were under way.

Incidentally, Kerala had delayed paying the compensation of Rs 50,000 to the families of COVID-19 until the Supreme Court intervened and ordered the distribution of the amount. The State provided the ex gratia from the distress relief fund.

Kerala's under-reporting of COVID-19 casualties, too, had come under fire earlier.

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