EPS-95 pensioners protest outside EPFO headquarters, declare to intensify protest
New Delhi : On the call of the EPS-95 Rashtriya Sangharsh Samiti, the pension holders of EPS-95 on Friday staged a massive protest and gheraoed the EPFO office in Delhi. Commander Ashok Raut, national chairman of the All India EPS-95 Pensioners Sangharsh Samiti, said that elderly EPS-95 pensioners aged 60 to 80 gathered at the EPFO's head office at Bhikaji Kamaji Place in New Delhi on Friday afternoon.
A symbolic funeral procession of the EPFO was also carried out on the road. A letter from the Interim Advisory Committee of the EPFO office, that was released on March 31, 2017, was also set on fire. It was this committee which prevented the implementation of the Supreme Court's order and had denied pensioners to take pension on their actual salary.
The Supreme Court upheld the Kerala High Court's ruling on 1 April, rejecting the EPFO's plea, and ordered the pensioners of EPS-95 to be given an enhanced pension according to their full salary. Elderly pension holders burnt the report of the High Powered Monitoring Committee, which recommended a pension of only Rs 2000 to the elderly in this era of high inflation.
Raut said that the pensioners who have deposited Rs 417, 541 and Rs 1250 from their monthly income for their entire lifetime and whose value is around Rs 20 lakh, the report recommends giving only Rs 2000 pension to pensioners. The anger towards EPFO is at its peak.
He said that the pensioners are demanding a monthly pension of Rs 7500, dearness allowance of Rs 5000 on it and the highest pension on actual salary as per Supreme Court order as per the recommendations of the Cashier Committee of 2013.
Pensioners also say that retired employees, who are not included in the EPF scheme, should be brought into the pension scheme or the amount of Rs 5000 should be given as pension.
Raut lamented that the pensioners have performed 'Bhiksha Andolan', mailed 12 lakh postcards to the Prime Minister, shaved their heads in protest outside District Magistrate's offices, sent appeals through DM offices, and even organised a lockdown protest of regional EPFO offices to draw the attention of the administration. They have already written letters to the President of India in their blood to allow them to take active euthanasia but they are still waiting for justice.
Raut stressed that 65 lakh pensioners employed in around 186 industries in the country previously used to work in the corporate sector, sugar mills, private and government industries. Now, they are being left to fend for themselves and toil in hardship every day as they wait for death end their sufferings.
Shobha Tai Aaras, a 68-year-old elderly women pensioner from Buldhana (Maharashtra), on this occasion said, “The pensioners of EPS-95 are facing a lot of difficulty in running their livelihood. Despite giving a fixed amount of salary to the EPFO every month, we are not getting the pension that is worth living after retirement. In the era of inflation, running a house for a paltry sum of Rs 2000 cannot be thought of. What is our crime after all? Why are we being harassed so much? The truth is that those sitting in the AC offices cannot understand the problems of the poor.”
The CWC committee will meet August 24 in Nanded (Maharashtra) and a national convention will be held on August 25.