Wednesday, August 19, 2015

PMO steps in, but OROP stir to continue

Military veterans demanding one rank, one pension refused to call off their protest even after the PMO intervened on Tuesday . A meeting was held between PM's principal secretary Nripendra Misra and representatives of the veterans, with Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag acting as the intermediary .
The ex-servicemen agreed not to escalate their stir for 10 days but refused to call off the fast-untodeath by three veterans unless the Centre set a “firm date“ for OROP rollout.

OROP: PMO steps in; veterans agree not to escalate protest for 10 days

The meeting with Prime Minister's principal secretary Nripendra Misra at the PMO came on a day when a third veteran joined the fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar here, where the ex-servicemen have been protesting for 65 days demanding early implementation of OROP.

"We met Nripendra Misra in the morning. He stressed that normalcy should be restored. Asked what he meant by that, he said the fast-unto-death should be called off. We told him that if there is a concrete assurance, we will stop it," Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd), president of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement said.

He said that since a round of talks have already been held with defence minister Manohar Parrikar, who had sought 10 days time to discuss the issue with Prime Minister, "there won't be any escalation of protest for ten days".


OROP: Delhi cops say 'we are sorry', urge ex-servicemen to give up fast

10 former service chiefs write to PM on OROP

Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd), who along with Lt Gen Balbir met Misra in the morning for an hour said they have made it clear that definition of OROP will remain the same.  "We have also sought an assured date for implementation of OROP and the date of effect will remain April 1, 2014 as was decided by the government," Satbir said.

Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media advisor to United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM), said Misra had stressed that the three who have gone on a fast-unto-death be requested to not go ahead. "We told him that it was an individual decision and members are trying to pursuade them to call off their fast," he said.

Modi had on August 15 reiterated his government's commitment towards the OROP but refrained from giving a time frame on its implementation. The Centre has maintained that the scheme will be implemented as soon as the technical difficulties are resolved.

On Monday, 10 former service chiefs had written to the Prime Minister pressing for expeditious resolution of the OROP issue. The letter, signed by former Army chiefs V N Sharma, Shankar Roy Choudhary, S Padmanabhan, N C Vij, J J Singh, Deepak Kapoor and Bikram Singh, regretted that Modi did not announce implementation of OROP in his Independence Day address, dashing the hopes of ex-servicemen. Former Navy chief Admiral Madhvendera Singh and former Air Force chiefs N C Suri and S P Tyagi were also signatories to the letter.

In a statement, UFESM said their advisory council had met Parrikar on August 16 at his residence over the issue. "He advised us to postpone fast-unto-death till August 24 as he would meet with the Prime Minister on August 23 and would attempt to get the solution to this vexed problem," the statement said. It added that the advisory council had counselled the veterans to delay the fast-unto-death, but they were determined to go ahead because of "total neglect of government to ex-servicemen problems".

Meanwhile, Delhi Police, which had come under fire for the manner in which it tried to evict protesters on the eve of Independence Day citing security concerns, has apologized to the agitating ex-servicemen for their action. Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) MK Meena went to the protest venue and apologized for the August 14 crackdown which had triggered strong political reaction as well as outrage among the former soldiers, a gesture appreciated by the protesters.

Sources said Delhi Police's apology came after the home minister sought details about the police action. He also directed it to reach out to the agitators. "On August 14, misunderstanding had taken place. We have discussed the issue in detail. At times some confusion takes place. We will try to mend. Our intention was not to hurt the soldiers," Meena, flanked by a number of ex-servicemen, told reporters. He said Delhi Police respects the ex-servicemen and that it will ensure their protection.

Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement. Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws a lower pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996. 
Call off stir for OROP: PMO to ex-servicemen

The Prime Minister's Office on Tuesday morning intervened in the ongoing one rank, one pension (OROP) imbroglio and asked the military veterans to call off their agitation and end the fast-unto-death being undertaken by three ex-servicemen.
Though the veterans agreed not to escalate their agitation for the next 10 days, they stuck to their guns that the stir would be called off only when the government announced a firm date for implementation of the much-promised but long-delayed OROP without any dilution whatsoever.
Grant of full OROP to the over 25 lakh veterans in the country will cost around Rs 8,300 crore per year. Considering that the government had earlier promised to implement it from April 1, 2014, it will add up to at least Rs 16,600 crore now, ahead of the 7th Pay Commission to be implemented from 2016 onwards, as earlier reported by TOI.
The hour-long meeting at 10 am on Tuesday between the PM's principal secretary Nripendra Misra and representatives of the veterans, Lt-General (retd) Balbir Singh and Major-General (retd) Satbir Singh, was held at the PMO's behest with Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag acting as the intermediary. 
The veterans, who had also met defence minister Manohar Parrikar on August 16, asked for “a firm date“ for announcement of OROP . “We sought an assured date for implementation, as also that the date from which it will take effect will remain April 1, 2014, as was earlier agreed by the government,“ Maj Gen Satbir Singh said.
Lt-Gen Balbir Singh added, “Mishra stressed that normalcy should be restored. Asked what he meant by that, he said the fast-untodeath should be called off. We told him that if there is a concrete assurance, we will stop it.“
Though Mishra was unable to give a firm date or assurance, the veterans agreed to “wait for 10 more days“ before further stepping up their agitation. “We also tried to persuade Colonel (retd) Pushpender Singh, Haviladar (retd) Major Singh and Havildar (retd) Ashok Chauhan to call off their fastunto-death. But the three said they would go ahead with it due to the government's failure to implement OROP ,“ said Col (retd) Anil Kaul, spokesperson of the United Front of Ex-Servicemen.
Even since the veterans' dharna began at Jantar Mantar 65 days ago, the government has been maintaining that OROP would be implemented as soon as the “technical difficulties“ are resolved. But the miffed veterans, backed by 14 former Service chiefs, say they now want the country's political leadership to walk their talk.

(Source- TOI)

1 comment:

  1. What for they need 10 days, its nothing but tactics, these people are capable of delaying, and what they think( though I do not support going on hunger strike till death) these people who are doing fast unto death will last for 10 days, common sir, Have a heart. Why DM is waiting to meet pm till 23rd Aug, why not today, why not tomorrow, common DM have a kind heart