Elderly demand 50pc discount on fares

  • international senior citizens’ day
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 3, 2016-

Senior citizens on Sunday celebrated the International Elderly Citizens’ Day by demanding free medical service and 50 percent discount on public transport fares. 

Of the demands, first put forth by the Senior Citizens’ Struggle Committee (SCSC) more than last three years ago, the government has partially addressed the one related to concession in public vehicles. But little has been done regarding free medical treatment in government hospitals, they claim. 

As per the Senior Citizens Act 2006, the government provides a card for 50 percent concession in public vehicles. However, the Act stipulates that public vehicle reserve two seats for people over the age of 60 and grant them 50 percent concession in fare. Based on this Act, public vehicles deny providing concession to more than two senior citizens. 

“All the elderly citizens must get to enjoy the discount facility irrespective of the distance travelled and the number of elderly people travelling in a public vehicle,” said Maha Prasad Parajuli, chairperson of the SCSC. 

Members of the SCSC have been making rounds to various government institutions, including the Ministry of Women Children and Social Welfare, the Department of Transportation and the Ministry of Finance, only to no avail. 

The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare claim that they have issued special card for senior citizens that avails them discount while travelling on public vehicles. 

Senior citizens had ended their daily sit-in protest after the government increased their monthly social security allowance to Rs1,000. 

The government has issued a card for senior citizens, especially for discount on public transport, Parajuli, 66, said, but it has failed to implement that which has been a major problem. Calling on the government to arrange for free medical check-up, he warned of another round of protest if their demands were not taken seriously. 

According to the census, there are 2.1 million people over the age of 60 in  the country. 

The elderly citizens also urged the government to stop investing in old age homes. “We do not want to live in old age homes. The government should, however, formulate a law that makes it compulsory for children to take care of their old parents and punish those who fail to do their duty,” said Shanta Shrestha, 72, of Bhaktapur at a programme organised by the SCSC on Sunday. Nepal has been celebrating elderly citizens day since 2007. 

Published: 03-10-2016 07:40

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