PANAJI: The one rank, one pension (OROP) stir today reached Goa, the home state of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, with ex-army veterans beginning an indefinite relay strike.
Several ex-armymen, including war veterans, under the banner of All Goa Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (AGEWA) said they will continue with the stir till their demands are met.
‘One Rank, One Pension’ basically means that retired soldiers of the same rank, who have retired after serving for the same length of service, will receive the same pension, irrespective of the date or year of their retirement.
"The person who retires now gets four times more pension than those who had superannuated with me. This is gross injustice," said Surjit Singh, ex-master chief Indian Navy, who had participated in 1971 Bangladesh war.
Singh said when he joined the service, they were told that their pension would be 70 per cent, but when he retired in the year 1986 he came to know that the pension was only 50 per cent.
"The families of those who die on the border get pension almost 50 per cent to that of ours. This imparity should be removed," he said.
The striking ex-servicemen have already forwarded a memorandum to Parrikar demanding imppementation of OROP.
"Indian armed forces are best known for their valour, discipline and impeccable integrity. The veterans after their retirement remain as dedicated as they were during service, except that they not carry arms and have always been against any protest or agitation," said Captain Dattaram Sawant.
"Unfortunately, for the first time in the history of Independent India, ex-servicemen are on relay hunger strike at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, for their legitimate demand of OROP which has been promised by the government," he said.
The government should not betray the soldiers because the nation cannot afford to do so. Moreover, the credibility of government and the Prime Minister is at stake, Captain Sawant added.