Foundation stone of a museum-cum-memorial dedicated to war heroes was on Wednesday laid in Amritsar at a ceremony attended by several dignitaries of the armed forces, with Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal asking the Centre to bestow 'Bharat Ratna' on Marshal of Air Force Arjan Singh for his outstanding contribution.
Addressing a gathering after laying the foundation stone of 'Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum' here, the chief minister said the outstanding services rendered by Arjan made him eligible for 'Bharat Ratna' in the Defence Category, which was so far given to eminent civilians from different walks of life.
He said the construction of the world-class memorial-cum-museum over an area of seven acres on Amritsar-Attari Road at a cost of Rs 100 crore was a tribute to the valour and zeal of the armed forces to serve their motherland.
General (Retd) J J Singh said this memorial would give an impetus to perpetuate the rich legacy of defence personnel right from the rank of soldier to General, besides propelling a movement to set up such a memorial at the national level.
Championing the cause of millions of serving defence personnel and veterans, the Chief Minister urged the Centre to immediately concede to the long-pending demand of 'one rank one pension' so that they could lead a comfortable life after retirement.
He said the state government would soon launch a special drive to fill the backlog of vacancies reserved for ex-servicemen in various departments, boards and corporations.
Announcing measures for financial relief, Badal said the loan extended to war widows for construction of houses would be increased from existing Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh besides enhancing the war jagir from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per month.
He also announced to waive off the property tax on the house property owned by serving Army personnel and ex-servicemen.
Badal said a special court would be set up at Jalandhar for quick dispensation of justice to serving personnel and ex-servicemen, and two police stations would be opened in Jalandhar and Amritsar to be directly supervised by an officer not below the rank of SP.