UNA, MARCH 20
Aryan and Suman Preet, the two siblings from Lower Badehra village in Haroli in Una district, were orphaned on May 12 last year when their mother Anju Devi died of Covid.
Aryan (15.5) and his sister are cared for by adoptive mother Karmi Devi, who lives next to their one-room house in the village. Their father died of a heart attack a few months before Anju Devi’s death.
Ten months after becoming orphans, the situation of the siblings goes from bad to worse. Their father had borrowed Rs 75,000 from the village cooperative society to start a small restaurant. After his death, Anju Devi borrowed another 50,000 rupees to add furniture to the shop.
The shop has now been taken over by Aryan’s relatives. However, according to the updated passbooks till October 20, 2021, the loan amount has risen to Rs 1.6 lakh. The company has started sending notices to Aryan for the repayment of the loans, but the siblings have no response. “The society secretary says he had called a general house, where the members decided not to give up the loans,” said Karmi Devi, the adoptive mother.
A check for Rs 50,000 was given to Aryan on the death of his mother but he cannot withdraw it from the bank until he turns 18. He also doesn’t have the right to sell off any of his ancestral land until that age, but the interest on the loans keeps piling up.
Aryan said he and his sister had a separate BPL ration card but were not included in the Ayushman Bharat program. Under the ‘PM CARES for Children’ programme, all Covid orphans must be covered by the national health insurance scheme.
Satnam Singh, district program officer of the Department of Mother and Child Development, said adoptive mother Karmi Devi receives a monthly grant of 2,500 rupees per child. He said that on reaching the age of 18, each child would be eligible to obtain a fund of Rs 10 lakh to be used for their higher education or self-employment needs.