On the verge of penury, a poor man gets a new leash of life when he comes to know that he is rich by three and a half lakh rupees.

Moosa, an illiterate Mazdoor, who toiled for electricity department for 15-20 years as a DRM, and finally got regularised a couple of years before his retirement was surviving hand to mouth in a small hut in Nayapuram. He had commenced construction of a small house with whatever he got as his retirement benefits. With the onset of monsoon and empty pocket, he realised that he could neither complete his shelter nor feed his family. 

A shy and introvert by nature, Moosa did not approach anybody. Most of his life, with a family of seven members, he was habituated to survive on peanuts. But this time, his concern was the half-complete house under construction and the dilapidated state of his hut.  

With no other option left, he decided to approach Humane Touch, a voluntary organisation working in his neighbourhood, which had constructed a house for a poor family last year. He sought their help in completing the construction work. They did go and see Moosa’s house. They were shocked to learn that a man who had been in service could not even complete construction of his house. They enquired about the retirement benefits. 

When Moosa informed Abdul Razak, President Humane Touch, Nayapuram and Abdul Aziz, Secretary that he had got Rs 160000/- as retirement benefits, when superannuated on 31st July 2010, both of them were surprised. All the money went into the construction work. They asked Moosa to show his service records. On verification, they found out that Moosa had been paid only leave encashment and GPF. His gratuity and commutation of pension was due, which he was unaware of. His monthly pension was yet to start.

Moosa was unable to explain. He had satisfied himself that his regular service was for a short period and was totally ignorant about the benefits he was entitled to. Aziz could not take anymore. He took the papers and approached the pay and accounts department and account section of Electricity department. 

The system got activated and in a matter of ten days, the whole issue was settled. He got his gratuity, commutation of pension and his arrears of monthly pension up to May 2011. He got a cheque of Rupees Three Lakhs Seventy Five Thousand.

It is not a sin in our system to wait eternally for the benefits to reach the susceptible and illiterate labour force, but it is a sin of great magnitude to keep someone in ignorance and darkness about the service benefits. 

Our efficiency does not lie in serving the upper crest of the society, but by taking care of those who lie in the lower level of our social strata.

If Moosa had not approached the NGO, or the NGO had not approached the department, the family, already in destitution would not have even known that a huge amount was lying somewhere due to the indifference or negligence of some officers. It is still a mystery why the poor man was kept in dark about the benefits he was entitled to. 

The intervention by Humane Touch at the right time made Moosa richer by three lakh rupees. The construction work has started again and will be complete in a couple of weeks. Moosa is a satisfied man now, who was unbelievably saved from the brink of indigence.