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Returning medals and honours

The article Agitations by military veterans(April 1) by Vice-Admiral Premvir Das (retd) admonishing the ex-servicemen for returning their medals to the President of India on February 8, 2009, in protest against the government’s apathy to the matter of “one-rank-one-pension” was interesting even though somewhat jingoistic. Admittedly, the way the medals were returned is “not the military way of doing things”.

Nonetheless, in view of no action on their long-outstanding demand and the disenchantment caused by many unjust anomalies in the Sixth Central Pay Commission, about 300 veterans decided to protest by trying their hand at “Gandhigiri”. Had the government been sensitive and responsive, this drama could have been avoided. Interestingly, it was only after the 26/11 terror attack that the government announced a separate pay commission for the defence services. Imagine the joy and relief it would have provided them had it been constituted well before the Sixth CPC.



It is unfortunate that one of our colleagues has spewed poison against the ongoing peaceful agitation of the veterans. However, we should not give much importance to his views because you will always find such people who may try to damage the holistic cause taken up by the IESM.



Vice-Admiral Das’s views could mislead gullible readers. For example, there are no travel concessions for veterans. Besides, the veterans’ identity cards cannot be called a concession. It merely allows entry into cantonment areas. In the civilian world, it is not even accepted as a proof of identity.

He may be right in castigating veterans for not wearing medals on ceremonial occasions, but to mix it up with the return of medals by the veterans to the Supreme Commander to underscore their demand for “one rank one pension” is totally misplaced. If this is the Admiral’s attempt to ingratiate with the government, he lacks subtlety.

S PANDIT, Rohtak


Vice- Admiral Das’s views on retuning of medals is rational. At least, I wouldn’t return mine nor will my 90-year-old mother, an Admiral’s widow, return her husband’s 16 medals.

Sadly, his inaccurate and airy commentary, “getting off some indiscreet driving on the road, get concessions on air, rail tickets.” is not the military way of doing things.


Save RTI from big babus

The Tribune has been consistently batting for the effective implementation of the Right to Information Act (editorial, “RTI Overload, March 25) and asserting that the RTI Act will lose its significance if commissions are converted into lucrative post-retirement assignments for civil servants. In fact, the RTI Act provides that Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners, both at the Centre and in the states, should be people of eminence having wide knowledge and experience.

Presently, retired bureaucrats who have strong service associations and close relationship with the establishment, more so in the state they have served, predominantly man the information commissions. The bureaucracy has, by and large, little credence in transparency and accountability, which is the cornerstone of the RTI Act. In this perspective, the people rightly hold that the bureaucrats are out to scuttle the RTI Act.



Voter awareness

I wish to share the ground realities that are at the back of the mind of every voter. Quite often, the same candidates are put up again and again by the major parties, which may have been rejected earlier. The voter might have to choose between two rejected candidates with a shady past. By and large, the parties put up candidates on the basis of muscle-power, caste and creed in order to ensure winability. Till drastic measures are taken, the same candidates will be elected time and again in the name of a vibrant democracy.


Public concerns

Elections come and go, but certain public concerns remain forgotten and unresolved. First of all, there is the menace of stray cattle. A rough estimate reveals that there are about 60 million stray cattle in the country. Freely roaming cattle are the cause for many road accidents and also pose a threat to unguarded green crops.

The second menace is that of monkeys. Even the Government of India’s offices in New Delhi are not free from the menace of monkeys. It is, therefore, a reminder to the next Central government to enact adequate legislation to put an end to these problems.

KIRAN SHARMA, Sundernagar



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