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Friday, September 4, 2015
Ex-servicemen warn to continue OROP stir if demands not met
Amid speculation that the government may “unilaterally” announce implementation of One-Rank-One-Pension (OROP), ex-servicemen today said they will intensify their stir if it does not comply with their demands.“There are reports that the government may soon unilaterally declare the implementation of OROP. If it is as per our terms and conditions then we will welcome it and thank the government. “If not, then the unilateral declaration is unacceptable to us. We will intensify our protests,” said Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), Chairman of Indian Ex-Servicemen movement. “Our fight is not against any leader, political party or the government. It is for our rights and the injustice meted out to us. Soldiers have sacrificed their lives for the country.”
Singh said that their main demand is that the base year for implementation of OROP should be March 31, 2014, the end of the financial year 2013-14. The ex-servicemen have been asking for annual revision of pension, but are also ready to settle for biennial revision, “but not beyond that”. “We have heard that the government may declare the date of effectiveness from July 1, but we are not ready for this.
The date of effectiveness should be April 1, 2014. “April one should be the date when arrears should be given. This is what Parliament had passed. If then don’t give every year then it is not OROP. If the government acts stubborn then we have other ways to bring them on track. But even if they say two years (for revision of pension) then we are ready,” Singh said.
He claimed that the government has to only spent ₹30 crore for six-consecutive years for equalisation of pension. “If the government can spend ₹60 crore on giving subsidy on Parliament canteen, then I have nothing to say,” he said.
Deadlock over the implementation of OROP persists even as back-channel talks are still on.
As the ex-servicemen’s fight for their demand reached 82nd day, Singh appealed to the other retired personnel to join the stir. “If you (ex-servicemen) are watching this...(on the television) from villages, different part of the country, come to Delhi and join us.
“Our movement is strengthening. On August, the OROP (hastag) was trending for seven hours on Twitter,” he said.