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Friday, 23 March 2018

VISIT OF TEAM T SEWA TO BHOGPUR, GARH SHANKAR OF PUNJAB & LUCKNOW FROM MARCH 11 TO 20, 2018

VISIT OF TEAM T SEWA TO BHOGPUR, GARH SHANKAR OF PUNJAB
& LUCKNOW FROM MARCH 11 TO 20, 2018

FOR CONDUCT OF AWARENESS PROGRAMMES

Introduction

1.Col Raghbir Singh, President, T SEWA, Punjab invited team T SEWA to visit Punjab and conduct awareness programmes for benefit of Ex-Servicemen (ESM) and family pensioners of Punjab from 13 to 15 March 2018. The places selected with support from local ESM Associations was Bhogpur (30 kms from Jalandhar on road Jalandhar – Pathankot) and Garh Shankar 40 kms from Jalandar.
2.Col Dhram Raj Singh, Coordinator for T SEWA legal work in AFT Lucknow invited team T SEWA to conduct an awareness programme at Lucknow from 17 to 19 Mar 2018.
3.The Executive Committee approved move of Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd) President, T SEWA, Col Ajit Singh Rana, President, T SEWA, North Zone and Brig SKS Rana, VSM, President, Legal Division of T SEWA to conduct awareness programmes at Punjab and Lucknow. Brig SKS Rana, VSM was not available due to his corporate commitments for awareness programmes in Punjab. However he attended the awareness programme at Lucknow from 17 to 18 Mar 2018.
4.The detailed visit report is given in succeeding paragraphs.
Awareness Programme in Punjab from 13 to 15 Mar 2018
5.I boarded Rajdhani Express at Secunderabad on 11 Mar 2018 and reached Hazrat Nizamuddin on 12 Mar. I was house guest of Col Ajit Singh Rana and Mrs Kamlesh Rana at Gurgaon. Col Ajit Rana and I proceeded to Jalandhar in Amritsar Shatabdi express on 12 Mar and reached Jalandhar on 13 Mar 2018. We were put up in Officers’ Mess of HQ 11 Corps courtesy Col Raghbir Singh, President, T SEWA Punjab.
Awareness Programme at Bhogpur, Jalandhar Dist on 13 Mar 2018.
6.A well attended programme by 700 ESMs and family pensioners was organized by Hony Capt Gurmail Singh, President of Bhogpur ESM Association. Col Ajit Singh Rana made a presentation covering the following issues:-
(a)Who are all eligible for pension.
(b)Types of pension for Ex-Servicemen like Service Pension, Disability pension and war injury pension.
(c) Types of pension for Family pensioners like Ordinary Family Pension, Enhanced Rate of Ordinary Family pension, Special Family pension and Liberalised Family pension.
(d)How to calculate your pension.
(e) OROP.
(f)Legal cases launched by T SEWA.
(g)Action an Ex-Serviceman has to take to get any personal occurance like re-marriage or divorce or birth of children, getting joint notification for pension in case name of wife is missing in PPO, getting date of birth of wife endorsed in PPO etc.
(h)Dual family pension.
(j)Activities of T SEWA.
7.I covered 7th CPC benefits and method of fixation of pension by (a) 2.57 method and (b) Notional pay method of pension fixation.
8.After question – answer session, a one to one interaction with Ex-Servicemen and Family pensioners was carried out. Most of the pensioners came out asking whether they are getting correct pension. Some of the non-pensioners sought scope for getting some kind of pension at their old age. Widowed daughters came to know how to get pension on death of their both parents. Reservists complained their in-eligibility for OROP. Widows of JCOs / OR whose husbands after retirement from Army served in DSC are not getting dual family pension.Many of the issues which could not be solved have been taken by Col Raghbir Singh.
9.Col Raghbir Singh got Col Manjeet Singh Kooner, Col (Veterans) of 91 Sub Area, Jalandhar to address the gathering. He explained the role of his office and offered his services to resolve the problems of ESMs and family pensioners.
10.District Sainik Welfare Officer, Jalandhar Dist also addressed the gathering. He advised all ESM Associations in Jalandhar Dist to come under one banner and approach him to resolve their problems with State administration. The DPDO Jalandhar also assured he will look into problems of pensioners with utmost urgency and sympathy. The representatives of SBI and PNB did participate in the Awareness programme.
Visit to Families in Distress
11.After lunch team T SEWA was taken to four villages around Bhogpur to see the pathetic condition of the ESMs and family pensioners. Photos and videos are taken. Financial assistance from  T SEWA was sought by each of the families. Col Raghbir Singh was advised to send details with his recommendation of quantum of financial assistance to Charity Division of T SEWA.
Pathetic Condition of Smt Kulwant Kaur, wife of (late) Nk Kabil Singh
12.We were taken to house of Smt Kulwant Kaur in a nearby village about 10 kms from Bhogpur. Nk Kabil Singh retired from Army and was doing odd jobs earning some meagre amount to supplement his pension to sustain his family. He was blessed or burdened with six daughters and one son. He died in 2001. His eldest daughter and her husband both died in one or two years after death of Nk Kabil Singh. Two daughters got widowed and were thrown out by their in-laws. One of the widowed daughter has 15 year old son and younger widowed daughter has two children (one son and one daughter). Both the widowed daughters came back to her mother’s place with their children.  The youngest child of (late) Nk Kabil Singh was a boy who got recruited into Punjab Armed Police, Jalandhar. He during his training period used to support his mother with his monthly stipend. Unfortunately he also died in a road accident. In this family in a span four to five years from 2001, Nk Kabil Singh, his eldest daughter, three sons-in-law and one son died. Smt Kulwant Kaur now supports her two daughters and three grandchildren with her meagre family pension.
13.Video on her plight is attached.
14.Other Families. The team T SEWA visited three more families in three different villages at distance of 10 to 15 kms. Their condition is also similar to that of Smt Kulwant Kaur. The videos taken in each of these houses are attached.
Visit to Garh Shankar, Dist Hoshiarpur, Punjab
15.Col Ajit Singh Rana and self moved to Chandigarh on 14 Mar 2018 and had detailed discussion with Maj Navdeep Singh on legal matters. He assured his help to TSEWA.
16.The team T SEWA organized one more Awareness programme at Garh Shankar of Hoshiarpur Dist on 15 Mar 2018. Hav Balbir Singh, President, Garh Shankar ESM Association made all the necessary arrangements in the conference hall of PWD Office of Garh Shankar. 225 to 250 ESMs and family pensioners could attend due to limited space. The Awareness progarmme was more or less same as that organized in Bhogpur on 13 Mar 2018.
Visit to Houses of ESMs and Family Pensioners nearby Garh Shankar
17.Team T SEWA visited four families living in remote villages of Garh Shankar tehsil. Videos  showing their condition are attached.
18.Charity Division, T SEWA on getting more details and documents from Col Raghbir Singh will carry out their own deliberations and assessment of quantum of financial assistance to be given to all these families who are in destitute condition.
19.Presentation of Mementos. Team T SEWA presented memento to the Presidents and Gen Secy of Bhogpur and Garh Shankar ESM Associations for the help rendered in organizing the two Awareness programs.
Return to Gurgaon
20.Col Ajit Singh Rana and self, interacted with six senior retired officers in Hoshiarpur over dinner on 16 Dec 2018 who thanked team T SEWA for the visit to Punjab and to villages to see the living condition of ESMs and family pensioners. They assured of their help and support to T SEWA in the noble task to alleviate the suffering of ESMs and family pensioners in Punjab in particular and rest of India in general. Col Ajit Singh Rana and self returned by Hoshiarpur – Delhi Express to Delhi on 16 Mar 2018.
Visit to Lucknow
21.Team T SEWA comprising of Brig SKS Rana, VSM, Col Ajit Singh Rana and self, arrived in Lucknow on 16 Mar 2018. We were received by Col Dharam Raj Singh,  TSEWA Coordinator for AFT Lucknow and Hav Harish Asthana, President, T SEWA, UP. Brig Amulya Mohan (Rtd), Director Sainik Welfare was kind enough to make a presentation on activities of his organization and welfare schemes launched by Govt of UP. A Minister of State is in charge of Sainik Welfare. UP has the largest number of Ex-Servicemen and family pensioners. 4,56,000 identity cards were issued to eligible ESMs and family pensioners. Lt Col Dr Bhatt, the Zilla Sainik Welfare Officer, Lucknow dist informed us that there could be few thousands or even a lakh ESMs and family pensioners who though eligible did not register with Rajya Sainik Board. The case of daughter of (late) Maj Bhatt of Kumaon Regt who was found begging on streets of Lucknow was explained. She is now employed as a sales lady in Sub Area canteen.  We were put up in Sub Area Officers’ Mess and of 15 Kumaon.
22.Visit to Col (Veterans) Madhya UP Sub Area and Col YR Sharma.  On 17 March 2018, Col Dharam Raj Singh took us to office of Col Aniruddha Wale, Col (Veterans) of Madhya UP Sub Area (MUPSA) who briefed us on the activities his organization is carrying out. His main grouse is many of ESMs are not aware that such an organization is existing for their welfare. He assured that any problems with PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad or Record Offices or CPPCs of banks will be dealt expeditiously by his office. He is responsible for resolving grievances of ESMs and Family pensioners in 14 districts out of 75 districts of UP. Col YR Sharma, a practicing advocate in AFT Lucknow and Lucknow bench of Allahabad High court promised to help ESMs and family pensioners in legal cases.
23.Dinner with 50 Retired Officers. Col Dharam Raj Singh organized a dinner on 17 Mar 2018 in Mohd Baug Club, Lucknow where in almost 50 retired officers / JCOs & OR were present. They all praised the good work being carried out by volunteers of T SEWA and promised to get more members into T SEWA. We could find five to six officers who were dedicated to the cause of ESMs and Family pensioners. They are doing silently some welfare oriented work but they lamented that there is lot of distrust between Officer Community and JCOs /OR.
Awareness Programme in Lucknow on 18 Mar 2018
24.Col Dharam Raj Singh, T SEWA Co-ordinator for AFT Lucnow with support from five to six retired officers organized an Awareness programme in function hall owned by Nk DK Shukla, an Ex-Serviceman. He charges Rs 1.25 lakhs per day to rent out his well furnished function hall in Uthrethia, Lucknow but he gave his premises free to T SEWA. The format of Awareness programme was similar to that in Punjab. Brig SKS Rana, VSM gave out details of legal cases being handled by T SEWA and as President, Legal Division. He assured T SEWA will get justice to ESMs and family pensioner at very low legal cost. I was asked to cover activities of TSEWA which I summarized as True SEWA and Timely SEWA. Question – Answer session followed. The questions were mostly on pensions, OROP which did not give anticipated increase in pension, problems being faced by non – pensioner reservists etc.
25.Why OROP Gave Less Benefit to JCOs and OR?. Col Ajit Singh Rana explained that the JCOs and OR were given enhanced pension w.e.f. Jan 2006, another rise in 2009 and third rise in Sep 2012 with the pension fixed at maximum of the scale. The OROP is only pension of those retiring in 2013. Therefore the increase in pension from Sep 2012 to calendar year 2013 of OROP has to be less for JCOs /OR. Whereas there was no such increase in pension for Officers.
26.Donation by Col Harvardhan Singh of 5 Raj Rif. Col Harsha Vardhan Singh donated Rs 25,001 to T SEWA during the awareness programme. He was kind enough to give his car Skoda Laura with driver for use by Team T SEWA for five days.
27.One to One Session for Grievance Redressal on 19 Mar 2018. Col Dharma Raj Singh organized grievance redressal session in his own house on 19 Mar 2018 followed by lunch. A number of ESMs and family pensioners came to get their individual problems resolved. Brig DM Tripathi, Hav Harish Asthana and self, listened to every one patiently to understand their problems. The main grouse is that banks are not paying correct pension. They themselves are not very clear as to what is their pension. A widow of an infantry soldier from 11 GR who died in 2001 has not been getting her family pension. She was assured that T SEWA will ensure that she will get her pension at the earliest.
28.Presentation of Mementos. Team T SEWA presented five mementos to Col Dharma Raj Singh (17 Raj Rif), Col Ram Raj Singh (15 Rajput), Col Harsha Vardhan Singh (5 Raj Rif), Brig DM Tripathi (Signals), Lt Col Hem Lohumi (102 Engr Regt) and Nk DK Shukla, function hall owner for organizing the Awareness programme so successfully. 
29.I returned to Secunderabad on 21 Mar 2018 on successful completion of Awarenes programmes in Punjab and Lucknow.  
30.Vidoes and Photos Taken During the Three Awareness Progarmmes.  These are attached. The size of video files is too large, hence the videos will be sent in six to seven mails mostly in Google Drive.
Conclusion
31.It is evidently clear that unless T SEWA goes into interior villages and meet the ESMs and family pensioners in their homes, to see how they live and to understand their grievances, very little is likely to be achieved. The Awareness programmes bring  T SEWA closer to the ESMs and family pensioners. With whatever limited funds available for charity, such visits to these remote areas will enable T SEWA to ensure financial assistance is rendered to deserving personnel.
32.T SEWA thanks innumerable members of T SEWA, non-members and civilians who contributed to charity Division to enable them to carry out philanthropic activities. It is with great amount of pride, I state T SEWA distributed Rs 7.50 lakhs as financial assistance to ESMs, Family pensioners and even to civilians during financial year 2017 – 18. With support from large hearted members of T SEWA, we hope to surpass this figure during next financial year (2018 – 19) and bring succor to many deserving ESMs and family pensioners.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)
040-48540895

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