NEW DELHI: Stepping in to pacify agitating ex-servicemen over the 'One Rank One Pension' issue, Prime Minister's Office today held talks with representatives of the protesters who have agreed not to escalate their agitation for next 10 days.
The meeting with Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra at the PMO came on a day when a third veteran joined the fast-unto-death at Jantar Mantar here, where the ex-servicemen have been protesting for 65 days demanding early implementation of OROP.
"We met Nripendra Misra in the morning. He stressed that normalcy should be restored. Asked what he meant by that, he said the fast-unto-death should be called off. We told him that if there is a concrete assurance, we will stop it," Lt Gen Balbir Singh (Retd), President of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement told PTI here.
He said that since a round of talks have already been held with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had sought 10 days time to discuss the issue with Prime Minister, "there won't be any escalation of protest for ten days".
Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd), who along with Lt Gen Balbir met Misra in the morning for an hour said they have made it clear that definition of OROP will remain the same.
"We have also sought an assured date for implementation of OROP and the date of effect will remain April 1, 2014 as was decided by the government," Satbir told PTI.
Col Anil Kaul (Retd), media advisor to United Front of Ex-Servicemen (UFESM), said Misra had stressed that the three who have gone on a fast-unto-death be requested to not go ahead.
"We told him that it was an individual decision and members are trying to pursue them to call off their fast," he said.
Modi had on August 15 reiterated his government's commitment towards the OROP but refrained from giving a time frame on its implementation.
The Centre has maintained that the scheme will be implemented as soon as the technical difficulties are resolved.
Yesterday, 10 former Service Chiefs had written to the Prime Minister pressing for expeditious resolution of the OROP issue.
The letter, signed by former Army chiefs V N Sharma, Shankar Roy Choudhary, S Padmanabhan, N C Vij, J J Singh, Deepak Kapoor and Bikram Singh, regretted that Modi did not announce implementation of OROP in his Independence Day address, dashing the hopes of ex-servicemen.
Former Navy chief Admiral Madhvendera Singh and former Air Force chiefs N C Suri and S P Tyagi were also signatories to the letter.