Veterans Slam Government for Shifting Goalpost

Published: 04th September 2015 04:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th September 2015 04:21 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Deadlock over the ‘One rank One Pension’ (OROP) scheme persisted on Thursday with agitating ex-servicemen accusing the government of “constantly shifting the goalpost” and not coming out with any “concrete proposal” to resolve the issue. As both sides refused to budge from their firm stands, the fate of the OROP issue seems to be still hanging in the balance at a time when notification for assembly polls in Bihar may be issued anytime in the coming days.

While engaging in back-channel talks, some of the representatives of ex-servicemen also met Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag.

Ex-servicemen have alleged that some sections in the government were also giving misleading figures with regard to financial ramifications in implementing the scheme.

Asked what would be their reaction if the government unilaterally announces OROP as per its own conditions, Anil Kaul, media adviser to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen, said, “We will not accept it if it is against the agreed definition of OROP.” On their protest rally in Bihar, Captain V K Gandhi (Retd), general secretary of Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, said, “We are not taking a political stand. But we will urge the people to vote for a party that will fulfil their promises”. The veterans, whose agitation entered the 81st day on Thursday, said the government sent seven mediators to talk to them but all had come with “different concessions”.

“Where do we go for negotiations? People from the government offer one thing and the next day another person comes up with another statement. They are constantly shifting the goalpost. There is no clear signal of intent from the government or any concrete proposal,” Kaul said. “We are not asking for a three per cent increment. This is a misnomer being floated,” he added.

Kaul said that the cost of implementing OROP will come to around Rs 8,294 crore, which, he said, was worked out by “three service pay cells and figures estimated by the Ministry of Defence. Why is there ambiguity now? Something must be wrong somewhere.” Kaul claimed that the pension equalisation will only cost about Rs 33 crore annually.

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