Wednesday, March 20, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pension to kin of war heroes to go
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 19
Hundreds, of kin of the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak war heroes, along with several decorated soldiers in the state, are a disturbed lot following the maturity of a controversial three-decades old order of the Punjab Government that the monthly grant or pension paid to them would be given for 30 years, only.

The orders, limiting the value of the sacrifice of Param vir Chakra and Vir Chakra winners to 30 years, were issued by the Chief Secretary Punjab in February 1972. With the completion of the period, the state government has now demanded affidavits from those taking the pension regarding the status of the payments.

Sources in the Sainik Welfare Department told The Tribune that the beneficiaries of the grants were informed by people and the district Sainik Welfare Boards came to know about the issue only after letters were received by them.

Brig K S Kahlon, (retd.) Director State Sainik Welfare Department, when contacted in Chandigarh said the department had recently learnt about the matter and was concerned over its affect on the relatives of the martyrs.

He said the department was trying to find a solution or at least ensure payments until the government did a rethinking. He said he was preparing a proposal regarding the problem and would be meeting the Chief Minister soon.

While the government will take its time on the issue, the families are shocked at the turn of events, calling it as a disrespect to the martyrs.

An official said even the Sainik Welfare Department was finding it strange that while the state grant or pension payable to freedom fighters, world war veterans, or other categories was life long, the monthly payment to Param Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra winners was limited. He said the department was making a list of those affected by the orders.

The sources said the dependents of the martyrs got a pension from the Centre and the Punjab government was giving them special benefits since Independence. The pension was Rs 300 initially but had increased to Rs 1500 now. A number of families were dependent on the pension and had no other source of income.Back

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