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Handle soldiers' problems properly: Antony

Defence Minister has urged state govts to fill vacancies in the state and district level soldiers' welfare boards.

india Updated: Jan 01, 2007 18:20 IST

The Ministry of Defence is upset with the state governments over the manner in which the latter have been handling issues pertaining to ex-servicemen.

In a letter addressed to all chief ministers and lieutenant governors of UTs, defence minister AK Antony has expressed regret that states have done precious little to fill up vacant posts of Rajya Sainik Boards and Zila Sainik Boards, which has affected their efficiency. The minister has urged the states to act promptly in this regard so that these bodies can be more responsive to the problems of armed forces personnel and their families.

Antony has told the CMs that the states have fallen short of implementing jointly accepted decisions despite numerous requests made from time to time to take action on priority. The minister has also conveyed to them that measures taken by the states do not meet the aspirations of ex-servicemen.

Barely a fortnight ago, Antony had fired letters to CMs urging that state governments and district authorities need to adopt a proactive approach to address problems of soldiers and their families. The rising incidents of suicide and fratricide in the army triggered the defence ministry to approach the states.

Antony’s letter focusses attention on lack of manpower and infrastructure at sainik boards. The minister has expressed confidence that if these issues are taken care of, the institutions can be effectively utilised for attending to problems of the armed forces personnel.

The minister has written: "There is a prime need to have the full strength of personnel in these institutions and ensure that posts do not remain vacant for long." He has made a reference to the 26th meeting of the Kendriya Sainik Board held on June 28, 2006 where his predecessor, Pranab Mukherjee, had stressed the need to rejuvenate these institutions and remove deficiencies of staff and infrastructure.

First Published: Jan 01, 2007 16:33 IST