Ex-Servicemen Pledge for Change; Numerous Issues related to their Welfare Discussed
In a largely attended meeting of ex-servicemen held today at Gharota, on old Akhnoor Road, it was unanimously decided to bring a change in the government so that their long outstanding grievances are addressed. The meeting was attended by the ex-servicemen belonging to Raipur-Domana Constituency and presided by Brig Anil Gupta, State Convener of the Bharatiya Janata Party Ex-Servicemen Cell. On this occasion Col SD Chib a prominent and senior veteran of the area joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was accorded a warm welcome by all the other veterans and expressed happiness in a senior officer of their area joining the Party and the ex-servicemen cell. Brig Gupta said that with more and more veterans joining the Cell we are nearing the accomplishment of Mission 44+. Brig Gupta appointed Col Chib as Vice President of the Cell and veteran in-charge Raipur Domana Constituency along with Capt Rajdev Singh another senior veteran and Chairman of the Sarpanches of the area. Bali Bhagat, State General Secretary, Bharatiya Janata Party was also present in the meeting. He was visibly moved after listening to the numerous problems being faced by the veterans who retire at a very young age. He assured that he would request his party leadership to consider establishment of an Ex-Servicemen Advisory Board, if voted to power. He also praised the bravery, selflessness and loyalty of the Indian soldier. Bali Bhagat also said that the choice in front of them is between two ideologies. While one ideology advocates separatism/autonomy for the state, the other ideology advocates total integration of the State with Bharat. He requested them to keep this in mind while exercising their franchise.
Brig Gupta in his address impressed upon the need to look after the widows of the veterans and bring forward their problems so that we can help them. He also explained the latest position regarding One Rank One Pension and the issues pertaining to ex-servicemen that have been placed before the 7th CPC. He also informed them about a reported move to establish J&K bench of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). He said since 90% of ex-servicemen belong to Jammu region and Srinagar remains cut off in winters he has requested the government to establish the bench at Jammu. Brig Gupta also raised the issue of the right of service voters to exercise their franchise at their place of posting. He said the Supreme Court of India in a historic judgement in March this year had directed the Election Commission of India to allow service voters (including personnel of central armed police forces and para military forces) at their place of posting in peace stations. However, the government of J&K has refused to accord this privilege to the service voters posted in J&K for the forthcoming assembly elections. Brig Gupta informed the gathering that he has approached Election Commission of India and the Central Government against this injustice.
Col Chib advised the veterans to use their vast experience and talent for the betterment of society. He asked them to act as watchdogs in their respective villages to ensure that no authority misuses the funds meant for the developments of their area. He also highlighted as to how successive governments in the state have played with their sentiments and failed to introduce any worthwhile measures for their welfare.
Capt Rajdev Singh Chib while speaking to the veterans explained to them the power of unity. He said that if all veterans join hands together and speak in one voice, no authority can ever afford to ignore them. Capt Bishamber Singh Jasrotia, General Secretary of the Cell, explained to them the various initiatives taken by the cell so far. He advised them to contact him anytime for any service/pension related matters.