HYDERABAD: As the nation celebrates the return of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was held captive by the Pakistani Army, several ex-servicemen from Telangana, who had dedicated a large part of their lives to the service of the country, are mulling over launching protests to demand contributory funds meant for their welfare.
Incidentally, while Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had recently announced Rs 25 lakh compensation to the families of every CRPF soldier who lost his life in the Pulwama attack, ex-servicemen from his own State continue to await funds promised to them by the Chief Minister two years ago.
It was in 2017 that Rao had announced in the State Legislative Assembly that one day’s pay of all State government employees — including Rs 25,000 from each minister and Rs 10,000 from each MLA — in a year, would be contributed annually to the Sainik Welfare Department for the benefit of ex-servicemen. The move was welcomed with great cheer back then.
Two years on, around 40,000 ex-service personnel from the State have still not received their funds, which have now accumulated to an estimated due of Rs 52 crore.
A six-member committee, headed by the Telangana Director General of Police, was also appointed to look into the concerns of ex-servicemen in the State in 2015, which the latter claim, has been of not much use to them.
Speaking to Express, the general secretary of Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) of Ex-servicemen R Ranga Reddy, who retired as a Subedar from the Indian Army, said, “For the past two years, we have been appealing to the State government to release the promised funds contributed by government employees, political leaders, and various organization that amounts to about Rs 52 crore, we still have not received a single rupee as of now. Telangana government had even announced that two percent quota in the double bedroom scheme will be allocated to veterans’ families.”
He added, “Over the last five months, ex-servicemen have been making rounds to the office of Telangana Chief Secretary, SK Joshi asking for an appointment with the Chief Minister to discuss their concerns. There has been no response till date.”
Funds deposited, says Department
When contacted, the Sainik Welfare Department Director, Col P Ramesh Kumar, said, “The funds contributed by State government employees have been deposited with the Chief Minister Relief Fund. Soon, it will be transferred to the Sainik Welfare Department. We have prepared proper guidelines on how to spend the money once we receive it.”