Tuesday, June 9, 2015
One Rank, One Pension scheme: Ex-servicemen divided over going on hunger strike
NEW DELHI: 9 Jun, 2015, 09.55AM IST (By Deepshikha Hooda, ET Bureau)
Some organisations representing ex-servicemen have decided to go on a hunger strike from June 15 if One Rank One Pension scheme is not implemented.The decision comes after an "inconclusive" meeting with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar where no date could be finalised for implementation of the scheme that was sanctioned 14 months ago.
The participating organisations will press batches of 11 members into the relay hunger strike round the clock, even as a few other bodies said it is rather unseemly of defence personnel to resort to such measures. "There is an upsurge among the rank and file in villages and towns across the country over the soldiers being denied their legitimate rights," Major General (retd) Satbir Singh, vice chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, told ET.
Members of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement and Indian Ex-Service League had met the defence minister on Saturday. "There were joint discussions on the definition of OROP and the defence minister seemed in consensus with the definition as proposed when it was sanctioned. However, there was no assurance on any date for implementation of OROP scheme," Singh said.
Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman of All India Ex-servicemen Welfare Association (AIEWA) said the organisation has been fighting for the scheme since 1978 and believes it should be implemented at the earliest. However, he said, "There are some elements who are taking undue advantage at this juncture. I urge all ex-servicemen not to resort to hunger strikes or take to the streets and give the government at least three months." According to Sehgal, AIEWA is the largest welfare organisation for defence personnel below officer rank and it has not lent support to the protests.
Members of Mohali-based Ex-Servicemen Grievance Cell, one of the organisations that have decided to take part in the hunger strike, said though that the delay in implementation of the scheme had left them with few other options. "Our soldiers are so disciplined that they cannot hold demonstrations and protests. However, circumstances have pushed us to," said Lt Colonel SS Sohi (retd), president of Ex-Servicemen Grievance Cell.
(Source- Economic times)