90-year-old treks 1.5 km to collect PDS rice.Odisha

JAJPUR : For 90-year-old Kali Jena of Bandha Sahi in Jajpur’s Binjharpur block, the struggle to collect her quota of rice provided under the public distribution system (PDS) is real.

Aided by a stick, the nonagenarian widow walks for one and a half kilometres to collect PDS rice from the retailer every month. On Sunday, a frail Kali was seen undertaking the arduous trek to the retailer at Alkund village under the scorching sun, a sight which moved many.

A resident of Ward no 14 in Bandha Sahi, Kali lives alone in her thatched hut for the last three decades after the death of her husband. She has a son but he lives with his family at another place. Being alone, the nonagenarian struggles to look after herself.

Unable to eke out a living due to her old age and frail health, she solely depends on the 5 kg of rice provided by the government under the Food Security scheme. And with no one to depend upon for her needs, Kali is forced to undertake the long and difficult trek to the PDS retailer with a bag to collect rice every month throughout the year braving the vagaries of nature.

Locals said the government has launched welfare schemes for the poor and needy but elderly people like Kali have not been able to avail the benefits.

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