Hathras (Uttar Pradesh), Feb 17 (IANS) A group of smiling elderly people who featured in an advertisement of a central-government sponsored pension scheme Thursday said they felt “cheated” as they had not received any money under the scheme.
The half-page advertisement, published in a national Hindi daily, shows several elderly people endorsing the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension (IGNOAP), under which people of 65 years and above and living below the poverty line are eligible to receive a monthly pension of Rs.200 from the central government.
The advertisement also carries on its top right corner the photographs of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
“Sarkari pension se mila hai hamein samman aur sahara” (The government pension has given us respect and support), the advertisement reads.
But several elderly men approached district authorities here to say they have not received any pension whatsoever.
“We have been cheated…some men approached us a few weeks back and asked us to pose for photographs for a public welfare scheme. We are shocked to see that our photographs have become a part of such a scheme which we have never availed of,” Vijay Singh, who features in the advertisement, told reporters in Hathras, some 350 km from Lucknow.
Singh claimed all the nine people who have been shown in the advertisement endorsing the IGNOAP are natives of the Lutsan village of Sasni town here.
Sarla Devi said: “We have just been used for the advertisement…We have never received any money under the pension scheme, still we have been shown as beneficiaries of the scheme.”
While the advertisement was published Feb 11 in the national Hindi daily in Kanpur, the villagers came to know about it Wednesday when a relative of one of the men shown in advertisement showed them the clipping.
When contacted, District Magistrate M.M. Khan told IANS: “Yes, some villagers have approached us in the context of the advertisement. I need to enquire about it thoroughly before making any comments.”