Man visits bank but to no avail

Social welfare recipients check their bank accounts for their social welfare assistance in Nadi yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

A 74-YEAR-OLD man from Ba says he still has not received his $100 monthly social welfare payment this week.

Prem Chandra said he had travelled from his Korovatu settlement home to the Westpac Bank in Ba Town three times this week to no avail.

“There was a big crowd outside the bank yesterday and at my age, I cannot wait for the whole day and I told myself that I will come again (yesterday),” he said.

Mr Chandra and his 72-year-old wife, Shiksha Wati, are completely dependent on the social welfare payments.

Both said life had become very difficult after Government reduced the bus fare assistance for the elderly from $40 to $10 per month.

Ms Wati said the reduction had impacted on their only source of income — selling sweets and snacks from a cart at the Ba Mission Hospital.

“On a daily basis, we travel five kilometres via bus from Korovatu to the hospital to sell,” she said.

“It is very difficult to survive these days, and since we don’t have any land to farm for ourselves, we have to do something to put food on the table,” said Mr Chandra.

“I am worried as we won’t be able to commute on a $10 bus fare assistance for the whole month.”

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