I’ve always thought that serving personnel are best suited to serve the cause of veterans. Apart from in-depth knowledge of their requirements there’s also deep empathy for their former comrades.
Punjab’s bulwark, XI Corps has done sterling work in this regard. Under Project Adhikar ex-servicemen were helped to realise their pension arrears dating back from 2006 after bottlenecks had been singled out and remedial action taken. Communication, stimulus and appreciation aided in achieving objectives. I was impressed by two innovative ideas. The efficiency of pension disbursing offices was increased by refining their operating milieu and reaching out to them through seminars. Instead of lamenting the inadequacy of bank clerks in calculating arrears the trouble was taken to suitably train them. Individual pension variances of 1,107 pensioners amounting to Rs 88.6 crore were resolved.
Similar novel efforts have been made by XI Corps in respect of the arrears of OROP and the 6th Pay Commission. The results are there for all to see. A total of `508.61 crore has been paid out by various disbursing offices and banks in clearance of the backlog to 3, 11,007 veterans, war widows and veterans’ widows in the last four months.
Under Project Sahuliyat, placement nodes at Jalandhar and Ludhiana have provided employment to 1,276 entitled persons including 35 widows in the last two years. Special widows’ conclaves with a total presence of 1,026 women were held during this period in Amritsar, Ferozepur and Jagraon. Relevant authorities were in attendance resulting in resolution of 524 cases relating to family pensions.
I can go on and on in similar vein. As General JS Cheema, commanding XI Corps moves to his new assignment overseeing the development and modernisation of infantry (he’s from the Sikh Regiment) he’ll have the satisfaction of having done some path-breaking work to ameliorate veterans’ condition. Efforts which have achieved tangible results.
SRC Hockey Team Reunion
The Sikh Regimental Centre has been one of the most significant teams in Indian hockey. To take only one decade, 1970-80 of it’s over sixty-five year history; it had during this period won no less than 54 national tournaments, been runner-up in 62 and in others mostly reached the semi-finals. The Nehru Gold Cup, Delhi 1973, 1976, Beighton Cup, Calcutta 1972, 1974, Murugappa Gold Cup, Chennai 1974, and 1976 are just some of the championships won by the team. The veterans of the SRC mostly settled in Punjab get together biennially to relive heady memories of their playing days and inspire the current team.
On August 6, the SRC veterans met at Jalandhar. The event started with the honouring of undoubtedly their greatest player, Colonel Haripal Kaushik. He played the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Olympics as the Indian centre-forward. In between his resolute defence of Tongpeng La against the Chinese won him the Vir Chakra in 1962. Present were Modan Singh, passing whose indomitable defence wasn’t a piece of cake for even the most aggressive forward and Brigadier Harinder Chimni, centre-forward of the 1975 World Cup winning team.
Western Command gets New CoS
General Iqroop Ghumman is the new chief of staff at headquarters Western Command. A June 1981 NDA/IMA graduate the general served with 17 Guards, at that time an anti-tank battalion equipped with the Milan anti-tank guided missile (now a tracked reconnaissance unit).
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