CHANDIGARH: Blaming bureaucracy for delay in implementation of "One Rank One Pension", the United Front of Tricity Ex-servicemen on OROP has threatened to intensify its agitation in the coming days.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Lieutenant General Harwant Singh (retd), who was accompanied by a number of retired officers and all ranks of the Army, Navy and Air Force, said they were waiting for a green signal from the central committee of the Front for extending the chain hunger strikes to Tricity and around. A day after central armed police forces retirees demanded OROP as well, he said that defence forces are required to maintain a youthful profile and hence 85% of military personnel are sent home before they attain the age of 40 years. Comparing the service conditions of military personnel with central armed police forces is not justified as they retire at 60 years of age.
He said that continuing delay in the implementation of OROP and inability of Modi government to commit a date for it despite repeated assurances in this regard by the Prime Minister was forcing them to doubt credibility of his assurances.He explained that ex-servicemen had exhausted all means of redressal before taking to the streets, even going to the extent of surrendering their well-earned medals to the supreme commander of the armed forces — the President — but to no avail. Ex-servicemen are mindful that it is neither good for the country nor for military ethos to air their demand in public, but they have been pushed to the wall in the wake of successive governments not being able to rein in the bureaucracy on this issue.
Lt Gen Harwant cautioned that close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be immediate beneficiaries of the OROP scheme and are in a position to decisively impact/swing results in the coming elections in Bihar and subsequently in Punjab in 2017.
Colonel (retd) J S Panag said the ex-servicemen who are at the rest of this demand for OROP are the ones who have fought the 1947, 1962, 1965 and 1971 wars. He appealed to all ex-servicemen officers and all ranks of the Army, Navy and Air Force in the Tricity and around to join the agitation being steered by Major General (retd) Satvir Singh under the banner of United Front of Ex-servicemen to pressurize the government for early implementation of OROP scheme.