Mysuru: A two-day 159th Defence Pension Adalat began at Kalamandira this morning and over 600 ex-servicemen attended to air their grievances and find solutions. The Pension Adalat is being organised by the Office of the Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad. Though the organisers were hoping to get thousands of grievances, most of the ex-servicemen stayed away due to floods and nature’s fury in Kodagu.
The Adalat aims at spot settlement of pension related grievances of the Defence Pensioners (Army, Navy, Air Force and Paramilitary Forces) including Defence Civilians residing in Mysuru. Sanjiv Mittal, IDAS, Additional Controller General of Defence Accounts, Delhi Cantonment inaugurated the Adalat.
Praveen Kumar, Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS), Principal Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), Allahabad,
K. Satish Babu, IDAS, Principal Controller of Defence Accounts, Bengaluru; Inderjit Kumar, Controller of Defence Accounts, Research and Development (Retd.); S.B. Sajjan, Brigadier (Retd.), Director, Sainik Board, Govt. of Karnataka; Dr. G.K. Sharma, Associate Director, Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), Mysuru and R.M. Sudheer, IDAS, Controller of Defence Accounts (Retd.) were present.
Over 20 counters have been established at Kalamandira premises and once the pensioners fill up the prescribed application form along with their pension details, they are issued tokens and called to the respective counters. Problems that are being faced by pensioners are then aired before the officials and on-the-spot solution is being provided. Grievances including war pension and regular pension are being heard at the Adalat.
Inaugurating the event, Praveen Kumar said that the Adalat is being organised locally to hear and solve the problems of defence personnel who have worked for the country or the dependents of defence persons who have laid their lives fighting for the nation. “Pension problems at office level, technical level and personal level are being addressed here. We don’t want anyone of you to lose benefits from the government,” he said.
At the Pension Adalat, city-based Vekare Ex-Servicemen Trust (VeKET) Mandetira N. Subramani brought up the case of Lance Naik L. Siddappaji, who was decorated with Sena Medal, a Gallantry Award, in 2004.
Siddappaji was attached to the 18 Maratha Light Infantry and was posted in hostile terrain of Jammu and Kashmir. On Jan. 19, 2004, terrorists struck his post and one of them opened fire at Sepoy Siddappaji and lobbed a grenade forcing Siddappaji to take cover and also engage the terrorist who was hit but kept on firing at him. Using limited cover available, Siddappaji closed in to engage the enemy and in a face-to-face combat, killed the terrorist.
For his initiative and display of exceptional courage in the face of threat to his own life, Siddappaji was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry) and he received it on Aug. 15, 2004. Unfortunately, even after winning the Medal, he was not covered under the definition of ex-serviceman. As such, he was not entitled to any benefits from the Army.
One more case that was highlighted at the Adalat was that of Maria Cecilia, whose husband died while in service. She had secured a job at Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) and she was not receiving the pension from the Army since 20 years.
Naik Hiriyanna, a war veteran who fought at Siachen Glacier and had lost a couple of his toes was not getting pension for his war injury. As per procedure, he must get pension both for his service in the Army and as well as for his injuries sustained during war.
The organisers had arranged food for all the attendees and ex-servicemen. Over 1,000 pensioners are expected to turn up at the Adalat till evening. The Adalat will continue tomorrow. Officials told Star of Mysore that one more Defence Pension Adalat will be held in the month of December.