NEW DELHI: In a special gesture towards families of its personnel who died in recent mishaps, the Navy has allowed widows of five of them to apply for becoming officers in the maritime force and one of them has already cleared the process.
The Navy lost 21 of its personnel in mishaps involving two Submarine accidents and 17 families had sought help from the Navy to get jobs.
"Based on the educational qualifications, five of the widows of officers and sailors have been given relaxations in several categories to appear for the selection procedure to become officers in the force," a senior Navy officer told PTI here.
"The wife of late Commander Kuntal Wadhwa, who lost his life in a mishap on the under-construction warship INS Kolkata in Mumbai, has cleared the Service Selection Board (SSB) and medical examination and would soon be joining the force," he said.
Navy chief Admiral Robin Dhowan has directed officials in the Naval headquarters and the respective commands to help out the families in fast-track mode to give them their dues. The officer said the ladies would be allowed to become officers only after they clear the mandatory tests and the SSB selection process for selecting officers in the armed forces. The families of the officers and sailors, who were not eligible to become officers, are being given jobs as civilian employees in Group B and Group C posts, the officer said.
The Navy took the requisite permissions from the Defence Ministry to give relaxation to these women in several categories including age and marital status.
After the Kargil war in 1999, the Defence Ministry started allowing widows of officers and jawans to join the services if they met the educational and other requirements for joining the forces.
The Navy had earlier given this relaxation to the families of its personnel who died in an air crash over INS Hansa air base in Goa involving the Ilyushin-38 maritime surveillance aircraft.
In the last one year, the Navy suffered over 15 mishaps in which it lost 21 of its personnel.
The biggest mishap occurred on August 14 last year when the frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak sank in the Mumbai harbour after an explosion in which all the 18 officers and sailors on board the vessel were killed.
Another fatal mishap took place on February 26 involving the INS Sindhuratna submarine in which two officers lost their lives.
Commander Wadhwa lost his life in the Mazagon Dockyards Limited during testing of the fire fighting equipment of country's biggest indigenous destroyer INS Kolkata which was being readied for induction in the maritime force.