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HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, May 11, 2013
The ministry of railways has extended the complimentary card facility to the parents of unmarried posthumous winners of Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra and police gallantry medals. It entitles them to life-long free travel along with a companion aboard all trains in the country. Maha Vir Chakra (MVC) is the second-highest wartime military decoration, while Vir Chakra (VrC) is third on the list. Kirti Chakra (KC) is the second-highest peacetime gallantry award, while Shaurya Chakra (SC) is awarded for valour and courageous action when not engaged in direct conflict with the enemy.

Earlier, the scheme was for awardees alone, and in case of posthumous honour, the widows were entitled. By a letter dated May 16, 2011, the facility was extended to the parents of unmarried posthumous awardees but only in case the medals were Param Vir Chakra, highest wartime gallantry award, or Ashok Chakra, highest peacetime gallantry award.

"There was a long-standing demand of The War-Decorated India (TWDI) to extend the facility to the parents of other gallantry award winners as well, which now has been accepted," captain Reet MP Singh (retd), secretary general of the TWDI, said here on Saturday.

Regarding the companion facility, if only one of the parents is aboard train, the companion will get to travel the same class free of cost. However, when the parents travel together, companions will have to pay for own travel.