, by indianmilitaryveterans

Dear Mrs Damayanthi Garu,

1. I am indeed grateful to you for yeo-man service you are rendering to Defence fraternity.
2. I am bringing to your kind notice a typical case of non - professionalism displayed by branches of banks at grass root level and their CPPCs at State or Head Office level.

2. Smt Shakunatala Bhandarkar, wife of (late) Lt Col Ajit Bhandarkar, SC who was martyred in anti - terrorist operations in Jammu & Kashmir in 1999 is sanctioned Liberalised Family Pension (LPF).

3. Govt of India, Ministry of Defence was kind enough to enhance LPF to war widows vide Circular 456 of PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad w.e.f Jan 2006 and later it has been substantially enhanced by Circular 503 by PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad w.e.f.24 Sep 2012. As per judgment of hon'ble Supreme Court the LPF as on 24 Sep 2012 was to be paid w.e..f Jan 2006 vide Circular 548 of PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad.

4. Syndicate Bank, Shoolay Branch, Bengaluru calculated arrears of Smt Shakunatala Bhandarkar and it comes to Rs 30,52,745 (four sheets of Due & Drawn Statement attached). Though the amount has been credited into her account, local branch is not permitting her to withdraw any amount from this arrears as it is blocked. The reason given to this illogical & illegal action is as per policy of their CPPC any arrears more than Rs 5 lakhs needs clearance. From where and what kind of clearance is not known to the branch manager.

5. Look at the ignorance of the Shoolay branch of Syndicate bank when they are quoting Circular C - 144 in the Due & Drawn Statement which is applicable to Defence Civilians and not for Defence pensioners. The branches have no idea of defence pensions. All they do is to blindly follow whatever they get from their CPPCs.

6. There are large number of War widows of JCOs, NCOs and OR who are illiterate and these banks are playing havouc with them quoting some silly rules and are denying pension arrears.

7. Madam, having dealt with large number of complaints, to provide better customer service, I urge you in consultation with Secretary to Govt of India, Min of Def (ESW) and if required with blessings of hon'ble RM to issue instructions to banks and PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad and other two PSAs as under:-

(a) All pension documents should be held by CPPCs centrally as branches have no expertise to go through them and fix pensions or work out pension arrears.

(b) All CPPCs to have common software for pensions and pension arrears. The software should be prepared by either Software Dept of PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad or CGDA and issued to all CMDs of banks to adopt common procedures and common documents. I have seen for the same rank, for same group, JCOs, NCOs, OR and Family Pensioners are being paid different amounts of pension arrears by different banks in the same village or town or city.

(c) CPPCs to get just 30 days to generate Arrear Statement and send them to branches for remitting arrears to pensioners along with Due & Drawn Statement.

(d) CPPCs to take help from Ex-Servicemen with knowledge on Defence Pensions if they are not clear of rules.

(e) All branches must give a Due & Drawn statement before remitting arrears. Either they do it themselves or get it from CPPCs.

(f) PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad gives routine circulars giving references to many letters of Govt of India which confuses banks and even crewed up Army Officers. The language used in these circulars should be simple, understandable and implementable. The circulars must give illustrations as to how to arrive pensions or pension arrears.

Even today most of the banks have not paid pension arrears of Jan 2006 (Circular 397) to Jun 2009 (Circular 547) as it is very difficult to arrive at pension as on Jan 2006 as per Circular 397 by comparing Annexure I and Annexure III for JCOs and OR. Even when pension arrears are paid these are not correct.

Many banks have paid pension arrears as low as Rs 1,500 when pension arrears are to be paid in the region of Rs 30,000.

(g) PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad and other PSAs must render a monthly report to Min of Def (ESW) as to how many grievances are received, how many have been resolved and how many are pending.

(h) PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad till date has not yet issued Corr PPOs of pensions as per 6th CPC though three and half years have elapsed. This shows how irresponsible the organisation is.

(j) Banks must have a priority shown as under by which pensions and pension arrears :-

(i) Priority I. War Widows (Veer Naris) and Family Pensioners to be paid before they remit to anyone else.

(ii) Priority II. NCOs and Sepoys.

(iii) Priority III. JCOs.

(iv) Priority IV. Officers including Honorary Lts / Capts and their equivalents.

8. Therefore, madam, we must give highest priority to war widows who sacrificed their husbands for defence of this great country. They must not be made to run around from pillor to post like Smt Shakunatala Bhandarkar is being forced to do. She has been credited in her account with Rs 30 lakhs plus but has not been permitted to withdraw.

9. May I humbly request you to kindly spare some time from your busy schedule to help Smt Shakuntala Bhandarkar by asking Chairman Syndicate Bank as to why pension arrears of this lady (Veer Nari) has been withheld and pay her penal interest @ 8% from 11 Dec 2015 (one month after issue of Circular 548).

10. I also urge you to ask CGDA to intervene and ask PCDA (Pensions) Allahabad to send a letter on Priority basis to release arrears of Rs 30 lakh plus with 8% interest from 11 Dec 2015 to Smt Shakunatala Bhandarkar.

11. The experiment of entrusting pension arrears to banks have failed and you have 90% of problems with banks as per your own dept’s statistics. So the only alternative is to link up all PSAs with all pension paying CPCCs.

Otherwise this problems will always persist till you become Secretary to Govt of India, Min of Def (ESW). Profound regards for doing wonderful service to Ex-Servicemen and Family pensioners.

Yours Faithfully,

Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)
President Tri Services Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (TSEWA) Secunderabad
09 Mar 2016

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