OROP row intensifies: Two more veterans shifted to hospital
No headway was made on Thursday in resolving sticky issues for OROP implementation during talks between agitating ex-servicemen and government.
New Delhi: No headway was made on Thursday in resolving sticky issues for OROP implementation during talks between agitating ex-servicemen and government even as two more veterans on indefinite hunger strike were shifted to the Army hospital following doctor's advice.
As hectic back channel talks continued, Army chief Dalbir Singh Suhag met representativces of ex-servicemen at his South Block office but there was "no forward movement", they later said.
"We met the Army chief but there has been no forward movement. We are firm on our stand that the base year has to be 2013-14 and that payment should begin from April 1, 2014. OROP should not be left to the 7th Pay Commission and the definition has to be the same as accepted by the Parliament," Maj Gen Satbir Singh (Retd), Chairman of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement said.
The government wants 2011 to be the base year besides no three per cent annual increase. It also wants payment to begin from 1 April, 2015, which has been rejected by the veterans.
Sources in the government said it was fully committed to OROP and was in the process of finalisation.
Two more protesting veterans - Major Piar Chand and Hav Sahib Singh - who were on fast-unto-death were evacuated to Army Research and Referral Hospital here on advice of the doctors.
As a mark of solidarity, some families of the ex-servicemen also sat on a hunger fast on Thursday at Jantar Mantar.
"We at Jantar Mantar feel very positive each day and are convinced that the mission OROP will be successful," a statement released by the United Front of Ex-Servicemen said.
Close to 22 lakh retired servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme, which envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
Currently, the pension for retired personnel is based on the Pay Commission recommendations of the time when he or she retired. So, a Major General who retired in 1996 draws less pension than a Lieutenant Colonel who retired after 1996.
Government sources have told <em>CNN-IBN</em> that the government has in fact made no promises to veterans on the voluntary retirement from service (VRS) issue.
Representatives of ex-servicemen, who have been protesting for the implementation of OROP scheme for the last 66 days, are likely to meet PM Modi next week.
Delhi police on Friday said it has allowed ex-servicemen to continue their protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.