The Indian Army and government are committed to looking after the interests and well-being of war widows, ex-servicemen and their wards and also continue to serve them in the future, Usha Pillai, regional president of Army Wives Welfare Association (AWWA), Headquarters Andhra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala (HQ ATNK&K) said on Wednesday. She was addressing over 100 war-widows from Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Thiruvallur, Villupuram and Kancheepuram districts at Veer Naris (war widows) meet held in Vellore on Wednesday.
Pillai said arrangements for lodging facilities, akin to the Sainik Niwas at Tirumala Tirupati Devesathanam, have been made in Palani, Guruvayur and Sabarimalai. The ex-servicemen and war widows could make use of the facilities while going on a pilgrimage to these places. A proposal for a similar arrangement in Rameshwaram has also been sent to the concerned department, she said.
Urging the war widows to make use of the ex-servicemen’s toll free number (1800 425 8828) to air their problems, she said the complaints were recorded and immediate steps would be taken to redress the problems.
“The war widows and ex-servicemen can also give suggestions to improve the quality of the service,” she noted. She said ex-servicemen, their wards and war-widows could also present their grievances to the collector, who is the president of the Ex-Servicemen Welfare Board in the district.
Col Administrative of HQ ATNK & K, Chennai, Col V V Subramaniam said, “We will take action to solve a problem within two weeks of it being posted through the helpline.”
The wing had helped war widows avail pension and arrears to the tune of `1 crore, between June 2012 and May 2013, he said.
The meeting was aimed at redressing grievances pertaining to pensions, Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), canteen and other issues. According to Pillai, AWWA has been organising two to three meetings in a year in the region to reach out to the war widows, whose husbands made supreme sacrifices to protect the honour of the nation.
On the occasion, AWWA also organised a medical check-up for the participants.