Bandipora, Dec 20: A poverty-stricken father of three daughters died waiting in queue at Tehsil Social Welfare Office (TSO) Bandipora while completing formalities for his old age pension on Tuesday.
The deceased was identified as Sonaullah Bhat of Malangam uphill area. Several eyewitnesses said Bhat was coming to the TSO for the past several days to complete paperwork for pension.
Bhat, a labourer left his home in biting cold on Tuesday morning to reach the office. Standing in queue TSO, according to eyewitnesses, Bhat collapsed and was removed to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
“The cause of death is cardiopulmonary arrest,” said a medical report.
A police official termed the death as natural and said that the body of the deceased was handed over to the family members after completing legal formalities.
“Many elders like Bhat used to find it difficult to come here in the cold but the struggle of living brings us here. We requested the higher authorities many times to make this process a little easier but it didn’t happen,” said a senior citizen, Abdul Aziz.
He said that the deceased’s daughters must be provided an ex-gratia relief because they had no support except their father.
Adil Hussain, a local, said that it is heartbreaking to see senior aged people waiting in queue.
He suggested the government should have constituted small teams and completed the work in the respective panchayats.
Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, Dr Owais Ahmad termed the death as unfortunate.
He said that an inquiry led by Additional District Development Commissioner, Bandipora will be conducted to ascertain all the aspects and the findings of the same will be shared in due course of time.
He said that an advisory ‘urging people not to visit the office unless they are called’ has been issued.