VISIT OF TEAM TSEWA TO BHOGPUR, GARH SHANKAR OF PUNJAB & LUCKNOW FROM MARCH 11 TO 20, 2018 FOR CONDUCT OF AWARENESS PROGRAMMES
Col Raghbir Singh, President, TSEWA, Punjab invited Team TSEWA 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.
Col Dhram Raj Singh, Coordinator for TSEWA legal work in AFT Lucknow invited team TSEWA to conduct an awareness programme at Lucknow from 17 to 19 Mar 2018.
The Executive Committee approved move of Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd) President, TSEWA, Col Ajit Singh Rana, President, TSEWA, North Zone and Brig SKS Rana, VSM, President, Legal Division of TSEWA 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.
The detailed visit report is given in succeeding paragraphs.
Awareness Programme in Punjab from 13 to 15 Mar 2018
Awareness Programme at Bhogpur, Jalandhar Dist on 13 Mar 2018.
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 issues like who are all eligible for pension, types of pension for Ex-Servicemen as well as for Family pensioners, how to calculate pension, OROP, Activities of TSEWA and the legal cases launched by TSEWA etc
I covered 7th CPC benefits and method of fixation of pension by (a) 2.57 method and (b) Notional pay method of pension fixation.
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.
Col Manjeet Singh Kooner, Col (Veterans) of 91 Sub Area, Jalandhar addressed the gathering and explained the role of his office and offered his services to resolve the problems of ESMs and family pensioners.
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 also participated in the Awareness programme.
Visit to Families in Distress
After lunch, Team TSEWA 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 TSEWA 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 TSEWA.
One such case is that of Smt Kulwant Kaur, wife of (late) Nk Kabil Singh, who died in 2001, leaving behind six daughters and one son. Due to unfortunate circumstances, two daughters were soon widowed and moved back to the parental home place with their children. The son, who used to help support the family also died in a road accident. Smt Kulwant Kaur now supports her two daughters and three grandchildren with her meagre family pension. A video of her plight is attached.
Team TSEWA 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 and Awareness Programme at Garh Shankar, Dist Hoshiarpur, Punjab
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.
Team TSEWA 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 programme 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
Team TSEWA visited four families living in remote villages of Garh Shankar tehsil. Videos showing their condition are attached.
Charity Division, TSEWA 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.
Team TSEWA 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.
Col Ajit Singh Rana and self interacted with six senior retired officers in Hoshiarpur over dinner on 16 Dec 2018 who thanked team TSEWA 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 TSEWA in the noble task to alleviate the suffering of ESMs and family pensioners in Punjab in particular and rest of India in general.
Visit to Lucknow 16 – 20 Mar 2018
Team TSEWA 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, TSEWA, UP. Brig Amulya Mohan (Rtd), Director Sainik Welfare made a presentation on activities of his organization and welfare schemes launched by Govt of UP where a Minister of State is in charge of Sainik Welfare. 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.
Visit to Col (Veterans) Madhya UP Sub Area and Col YR Sharma, Advocate.
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. He lamented that 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.
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 TSEWA and promised to get more members into TSEWA. 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
Col Dharam Raj Singh, TSEWA Co-ordinator for AFT Lucknow with support from five to six retired officers organized an Awareness programme in function hall owned by Nk DK Shukla, an Ex-Serviceman who gave his premises free to TSEWA. The format of Awareness programme was similar to that in Punjab. Brig SKS Rana, VSM gave out details of legal cases being handled by TSEWA and as President, Legal Division. He assured TSEWA 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.
Col Harsha Vardhan Singh of 5 Raj Rifles donated Rs 25,001 to TSEWA during the awareness programme. He was kind enough to have his car and driver available for use by Team TSEWA for all five days.
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 everyone patiently to understand their problems, most common of which was banks not paying correct pension.
Presentation of Mementos. Team TSEWA 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.
I returned to Secunderabad on 21 Mar 2018 on successful completion of Awareness programmes in Punjab and Lucknow.
It is evidently clear that unless TSEWA 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 TSEWA closer to the ESMs and family pensioners. With whatever limited funds available for charity, such visits to these remote areas will enable TSEWA to ensure financial assistance is rendered to deserving personnel.
TSEWA thanks innumerable members of TSEWA, 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 TSEWA 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 TSEWA, we hope to surpass this figure during next financial year (2018 – 19) and bring succour to many deserving ESMs and family pensioners.
Brig CS Vidyasagar (Rtd)
9493191380 (Mobile connectivity is very poor in my residential complex)