Tribune News Service
Patiala, February 21The State Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (SEWA), Punjab, organised an “Insaf Rally” at the Anaj Mandi here. Various ex-servicemen organisations from Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand took part in the rally. The ex-servicemen said they were aggrieved at the apathetic attitude of the government towards One Rank One Pension (OROP) as passed by the Parliament. “Truncated OROP has been implemented denying justice to their rightful demands. There is a huge gap between the minimum and maximum pay and pension of the men in uniform. There is an urgent need to raise the pay and pension of lower rank defence personnel,” the ex-servicemen said. Col Kuldip Singh Grewal (retd), president, State Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association, said after recruitment, soldiers had to undergo military training and professional training before being fit for battle. Even after attaining professional skills, they are equated with Class IV employees in government offices in terms of pay and pension. “Widows of pensioners who after putting in a few years of service are discharged on medical grounds are placed on minimum pension i.e. Rs 3,500, which is too little to sustain their living,” he said. Addressing the ex-servicemen, who came from several parts of North India, Grewal said: “Danger to life is same for all ranks. So, there is a need to raise minimum military service pay of jawans”. Others who spoke on the occasion said the next of kin of those soldiers who attain martyrdom in battle or insurgency should be adequately compensated monetarily in equitable manner irrespective of rank. The anomalies existing in the OROP, which is implemented vide government notification issued in November last, should be corrected without wasting more time to end the ongoing agitations by the ESM community. “Charts notified by the PCDA (Pension) have numerous discrepancies, which need to be rectified,” said the speakers, adding that either the soldiers should be allowed to serve till 60 years of age or their pension should be fixed at the top of the pay band.