For the past three years, 84-year-old Nazrali Kha has faced a perplexing challenge – he’s officially declared dead in government records while being very much alive. Mistakes made by government employees in the panchayat have led to this situation, forcing the elderly Muslim man to tirelessly present various documents at the panchayat office and the Block Development Office (BDO) to prove his existence.
Nazrali Kha resides in Kanakata village of Simlapal gram panchayat in Simlapal block of Jangalmahal in Bankura district, West Bengal. His old age pension has been halted for the last three years due to his ‘death’ being recorded in the government register. Unable to work, the only lifeline to sustain his family is the government’s old age pension. With this benefit suspended, he is enduring severe hardship.
On Monday, Nazrali Kha presented a set of documents to the Simlapal BDO, pleading to be officially recognized as ‘alive.’
“My present condition is a result of a conspiracy by a panchayat member,” alleged Nazrali.
Despite submitting numerous applications over the past three years, his issue remains unresolved.
According to the panchayat office, in 2021, while preparing the official list of deceased individuals, efforts were made to identify and remove the names of the deceased. During this process, a former gram panchayat member mistakenly reported Nazrali Kha as deceased, leading to his inclusion in the list. It was later discovered that he was indeed alive.
Simlapal panchayat pradhan, Surajit Pathak said, “We had notified the BDO about our error at that time. I attempted to resolve his problem, but unfortunately, I couldn’t succeed.”
“Since the block office had forwarded the list of deaths to the district without verifying death certificates, no further attempts were made to rectify the mistake. Presently, Nazrali is persistently visiting panchayat offices, yet we are unable to help. The block office has the authority to resolve the issue, but they have not taken any action”, he added.
“I do not own any land. My wife is unwell and bedridden due to old age and leg injuries. Our only son neglects us. I appeal to everyone to reinstate my old age pension. This allowance will bring some relief to our family. It will assist me in providing medical care for my ailing wife,” Nazrali Kha told The Observer Post.
“I am aware of the situation, but since he has been declared dead in official records for three years, it is currently impossible to revive his status,” stated Simlapal’s block development officer, Manas Chakraborty.
Local social worker Swarupananda Dheebar raised concerns, questioning the administration’s capability. He claimed that “Nazrali’s allowance has been suspended since August 2021. I personally submitted several written notifications to the then BDO, but the helpless man has yet to find a resolution.”