Saturday, June 27, 2009

Change laws, strengthen judiciary to clear backlog: Prez

Huge backlog of cases in the courts is a major issue and the solution lies in changing laws and strengthening judicial institutions, President Pratibha Patil said in Uttan today.

"One of the major issues confronting the judiciary is the huge backlog of cases... Cases have taken inordinately long time to come to conclusion and litigants have not been able to lead normal life unsure of the verdict in their case," she said.

The President was inaugurating Maharashtra Judicial Academy in Uttan. She said solution should be found for those waiting for justice since long and added, "this could include revising many of our legal codes and laws which are old and outdated as well as strengthening institutional aspects of judiciary."

Addressing the audience which included Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Swatanter Kumar and several High Court judges, she said, "Cost of access to justice has become high and expensive whether it is in terms of court fees or lawyers' fees. This has given rise to worrisome doubt about access to justice especially for the weaker sections of society."

"It should be our bounden duty to ensure that justice was accessible to all," Patil said, adding that options like mobile courts for remote areas, wide network of legal assistance for the poor and predictable schedule of hearings can be useful in tackling the issue. (ST-27/06)
Change laws, strengthen judiciary to clear backlog: Prez

Huge case backlog clogs India's courts By Neeta Lal
DELHI - India's woefully underfunded court system, with its shortfall of judges but excess of corrupt lawyers, is also saddled with a gargantuan backlog of 29.2 million cases pending across hundreds of subordinate state-level courts, 21 high courts and the Supreme Court.

According to figures released recently by the Indian Supreme Court- the country's highest judicial authority- out of this mind-boggling number, over 25.4 million cases are pending in subordinate courts, 3.7 million cases in various high courts while the Supreme Court is stuck with 45,887 cases awaiting justice.
Full article at: Huge backlog clogs India's courts

Points to Ponder
Can the India's Courts ever deliver justice without delay?....the backlog alone will take another 100 years to clear....still there are cases which are alive and kicking after 400 years....Justice and Judgement pending for four centuries!

IESM: OROP- modified, diluted or jinxed?

Dear Friends,
1. With serious concern, we wish to inform all ESM organisations and ESM that inspite of efforts by all of us, the Government is planning to sanction only modified OROP. This will not be fair to the ESM who have been agitating ever since the 6th CPC recommendations were made public.
2. It is also reliably learnt that IESL Team which was invited by the Cabinet secretary besides AFA and War Disabled Association reps to give presentation on OROP, gave four options diluting the proposal in the descending order. We are at loss to know the reasons for giving such options to the Government. There is only one interpretation of One Rank One Pension as indicated below:
  • All past pensioners should get the same pension as is given to their rank-to-rank and service-to-service peers that are retiring now.
  • The date of applicability of revised pensions should be the same as the date of applicability of the VI Pay Commission i.e. 1.1.2006.
  • OROP should be made into a permanent arrangement so that the pensions of old retirees remain equated with the current retirees all the time to come and this issue does not arise again.
  • If there are any changes in the Pension Regulations concerning Disability Pension, War Injury pay, Family Pension and the like, the above principle of equity should equally apply to such past pensioners also.

    3. IESL Team by diluting the OROP case has harmed the interests of 2.4 million ESM who were waiting for the Justice from the Government. Gen Raj Kadyan had submitted the IESM proposal of grant OROP to the RM and Cabinet Secretary. Though, we met the RM, we were not included in the discussion for the reasons best known to the Cabinet Secretary.

    4. We will continue to carry forward our mission of Justice to Defence Personnel till our demands are fully met. We seek you cooperation. All ESM Organisations and ESM must join the IESM and strengthen the Movement. Our plans to commemorate the Kargil Diwas have already been forwarded. Our future course of action to get Justice to the Defence Personnel will be announced shortly.
    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
  • PM meets Secys over OROP for armed forces

    Zeenews Bureau
    New Delhi, June 25: Moving closer on implementing the long-standing demand for one rank-one pension (OROP) for armed forces, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday chaired a meeting of Committee of Secretaries who made presentation to him.

    The meeting was also attended by Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Union Defence Minister AK Antony and Union Minister Ashok Chavan. Earlier, the UPA government had promised to resolve the contentious matter by this month-end.

    In her address to the joint sitting of Parliament, President Pratibha Patil had said that the committee headed by Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrasekhar had "already commenced its work and expects to complete it by the end of June 2009''.

    Just before the crucial fourth phase of polling on May 7, the Defence Ministry had declared that a high-level committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary had been constituted to "reduce the gap in the pensionary benefits to officers and jawans, bringing it as close to OROP as possible''.

    But slapped with a notice from the Election Commission for violating the model code of conduct, the government had swiftly backtracked and denied that the government has constituted any special committee for the purpose.

    The grouse of ex-servicemen is that all political parties have used OROP to garner votes but have never implemented it after coming to office. The government had obviously announced the setting up of the committee to counter the BJP's strong 'Jai Jawan' tune in its manifesto.

    The defence community of 14 lakh serving and 23 lakh retired military personnel, after all, swells into a sizable votebank of around 1.5 crore people if family members are taken into account.

    The UPA government, however, is promising only a partial implementation of OROP at best, with the Defence Ministry itself acknowledging that full implementation is simply not feasible "administratively".

    The Defence Ministry, however, admits that a case does exist for bringing the quantum of pension of pre-January 1996/October 1997 pensioners at par with post-January 1996/October 1997 and pre-January 2006 ones because the gap between the pensions of past and present retirees has considerably widened after the 6th Pay Commission.

    This will entail an additional financial burden of only around Rs 500-600 crore annually, with the government keen to reduce the present four categories of pensioners to only two broad ones of pre and post January 2006 retirees.

    "Full OROP implementation, in turn, could mean an annual outgo of around Rs 1,200-1,300 crore, apart from payment of arrears in the range of Rs 4,000 crore," said an official.
    PM meets Secys over OROP for armed forces

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Fri, Jun 26, 2009 at 10:21 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    No details are still known of the government response to the ESM demand of OROP. Many calls are being received from ESM in different parts of the country, both for query and expression of resolve to continue the efforts till OROP demand is met.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Media Reports on OROP
    It is evident that the Committee of Secretaries assigned to bridge the Pension Anomalies will not do justice to the ESM demands for Pension Parity. The outcome of the study is summarised as under:
    "Though holding that full OROP is neither financially nor administratively possible, the government promises to resolve the existing anomalies in the pension structures of ex-servicemen which have been accentuated by the 6th Pay Commission."
    This a plot and a ploy deployed by bureaucrats to confuse the Nation and the Politicians. The ESM demands are not for "arrears" which has been inflated to Rs 4000 crores by the bureaucrats but for "OROP". Therefore, it will be only an additional expenditure of Rs 1000 crores envisaged for grant of OROP, which will be well within the flexible inflationary budget. Excuse of "administratively impossible" is not tenable excuse in the digital world of today!
    The bureaucrats attempting to confuse the issues must be fought tooth and nail by all ESM Welfare Organisations and exposed at all levels. Does the Government and Bureaucrats want all Ex Servicemen to go begging after every pay Commission for Pension Parity? This Pension Parity must be done automatically! Pension Parity implies upholding the honour and dignity of every defence personnel who has ensured the safety and integrity of the Nation. Does he deserve less?

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    IESM: Chairman's Desk- "OROP" bridging the pension disparity

    Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 10:04 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    There has been some ‘breaking news’ on the TV this evening on the government having sanctioned OROP. Details are hazy on what exactly is given. These will be known in the print media possibly tomorrow.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    The emotive issue of Rank based Pension termed "OROP" by Maj Gen Surjit Singh (Retd): click me

    Breaking News
    Centre working on next-best option to one-rank, one-pay
    26 Jun 2009, 0443 hrs

    NEW DELHI: The government seems all set to upwardly revise pension of ex-servicemen to bring them closer to the long-demanded "one-rank, one-pension" mechanism.

    Though holding that full OROP is neither financially nor administratively possible, the government promises to resolve the existing anomalies in the pension structures of ex-servicemen which have been accentuated by the 6th Pay Commission.

    On Thursday, cabinet secretary K M Chandrasekhar, who heads the committee of secretaries (CoS) looking into the issue, made a presentation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He is also said to have discussed the pros and cons of granting the OROP demand based on the nearly two-month study that the committee carried out on the subject.

    Others present during the presentation included finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister A K Antony, home minister P Chidambaram and minister of state (personnel) Prithviraj Chavan. The UPA government has already committed itself to taking a decision on the subject by the end of June in President Pratibha Patil’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament on June 4, 2009.

    Just before the crucial fourth phase of polling on May 7, the defence ministry had declared that a committee headed by the cabinet secretary had been constituted to "reduce the gap in the pensionary benefits to officers and jawans, bringing it as close to OROP as possible".
    Centre working on next-best option to one-rank, one-pay: TOI

    Other Media Reports
    Thursday, June 25, 2009, PIB
    CoS on One Rank One Pension makes Presentation to PM
    20:28 IST
    The Committee of Secretaries headed by Cabinet Secretary on matters related to “One Rank - One Pension” made a Presentation to the Prime Minister today and those present were Finance Minister, Raksha Mantri, Home Minister and MOS (Personnel).
    CoS on One Rank One Pension makes Presentation to PM

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday (June 25) met the committee of secretaries, which is considering the long-pending demand of ex-servicemen for parity in pension of personnel retiring in the same rank. In the meeting, Singh is said to have discussed the pros and cons of granting the demand of retired armed forces personnel, popularly known as 'One Rank-One Pension' (OROP).
    Govt closer to 'one rank one pension' scheme, 25 Jun 2009, 1821 hrs IST, Times Now

    A tribute to the unknown soldier

    The Hindu: Online edition of India's National Newspaper
    Friday, Jun 26, 2009
    Rahi Gaekwad
    Armed forces film archives tell the story of the Indian Army role in World War II. About 62 short films, documentaries are being screened. The films laud the achievements of Indian regiments.
    MUMBAI: Many will perhaps remember the nail-biting moments when a Sikh soldier bent precariously over a landmine in the Oscar-winning The English Patient, set partly in post-World War-II Italy.

    A rich piece of history lies embodied in the character of the Indian soldier fighting in the Allied forces.

    The Films Division in Mumbai opened a rare chapter in history on Thursday. About 62 short films and documentaries sourced from the archives of the Armed Forces Film and Photo Division (AFFPD) are being screened over the next two days as part of the World War II Film Festival.

    The story of the Indian Army’s contribution in World War II is the story of the War itself. Whatever be India’s differences with Britain, this was India’s war. Independence Day 1947, India Strikes Back, A Day with the Indian Troops in Egypt, The Battle of Kohima, On the Road to Mandalay and The Madras Guards are some of the movies from the black-and-white collection on the list.

    Made by British production houses and Bombay Talkies, among others, the films laud the achievements of the various Indian regiments sent to Burma, Italy, Malaya, Egypt, France, Singapore, Indonesia and other countries.

    Indians volunteered in large numbers and were among the first to get the Victoria Cross, the equivalent of Param Vir Chakra.

    There is intrigue and fascination, as the imperial lens captures the moments with the Indian Army. There is something awesome about the rustic Indian handling mechanised weapons with ease. And there is praise for the physical strength he uses to tame difficult terrain, the strength required to do farm work in India stands him in good stead.

    In a way, the films are typical of colonial narratives.

    Native food, sports, pleasures are a source of fascination, even amusement. So, the shape of the Indian bread, chapatti, is seen as “strange.”

    “The Indian soldier is a very thrifty person. Every month he is able to send a [considerable] amount to his missus and the kiddies,” the narrator informs.

    There are even compelling stories that bring home a very indigenous history, a poignant one being the Army’s efforts during the Bengal Famine of 1943. Truckloads of food, labelled ‘Food for the people,’ soldiers cooking and serving cadaverous men, women and children, bathing and treating them, show the humane side of the Army and India’s reality at once.

    Major General (Retd.) D’Souza, 89, said to be the only surviving officer from the war period, inaugurated the festival. He highlighted the need for a national war memorial for the Indian soldiers. “Indian troops took part in every single theatre of World War II.” He also urged the youth to watch the films to get themselves acquainted with history and the conditions of the soldiers.
    A tribute to the unknown soldier

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Murderous Assault on Maj GS Benipal (Retd)

    Dear All,
    1. All ESM organisation and members are requested to give wide publicity of these News items publised in Tribune & HT to your dear and near in India and abroad to expose the atrocities on ESM in Punjab and to all the media in all the states.
    2. Write to the MPs & MLA of the central and state Govt if you are close to them, so that this becomes a feeler to all, that ESM are united throughout INDIA. At least this much can be contributed to convey our solidarity to Major GS Benipal.
    3. The SSP and DC have become impotent in Punjab as Dy CM directly controls SHO's.
    Col CJS Khera (Retd)

    Dear Veterans,
    Consolidated and sincere efforts made by ex-services community in Punjab has brought the good results in the above case. One of the main accused, Simarjit Singh Bains has surrendered to Police after the police detained his elder brother Balwinder Singh Bains.
    Governor Punjab, Gen (Retd) SF Rodrigues has also sought a detailed report on the above case from the State Govt. It is, reliably, learnt that the Governor has been asked to submit his report on this episode by the Home Deptt. Government of India on the instance of this organization's communiqué submitted to Secy Home Deptt with copy to Governor Punjab along with others.
    But the battle is neither won nor over as yet. Veterans have to keep their guns ready and powder dry till the justice is delivered to our brother veteran, Maj GS Benipal.
    With best regards,
    Sgt Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS (Retd)
    Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh

    Protesting revenue officials march towards the Mini-Secretariat to offer bangles to the Ludhiana DC and SSP on Monday

    LUDHIANA: The entire act of defending the SAD councillor, Simarjeet Singh Bains received a major setback on Monday, following the supplementary statement of the victim, Gurinder Singh Benipal, who accused the leader of a murderous attempt on his life.

    Earlier, Bains was booked under Section 120b for criminal conspiracy in the attack on the sub-registrar in his office in Gill village on June 19. Now, in wake of the recent statement of the victim, grievous sections are expected to be slapped against the leader.

    "In my supplementary statement given to the police, I have informed the police as to how Bains, who was accompanying Karwal had attacked me with a big lathi on my eye, repeatedly saying that he would kill me," informed Benipal, while talking to TOI, expressions of anger and pain writ large on his face.

    Benipal, who has still not been able to come out of the shock in wake of the brutal attack on him, said, "I will not be relieved until justice is done and the perpetrators, Bains and Karwal are punished for their act. I am not concerned with over dozen other names in the FIR, as the real accused are only Karwal and Bains."

    In the meanwhile, SHO Sadar Mandeep Singh was suspended on Monday and in a way, the entire responsibility of the failure of police machinery was thrusted upon him. Though, confirming the move, DIG SS Chauhan gave an entirely different reason for his suspension. He said, "The SHO has been removed following complaints that he was giving VIP treatment to the accused in the case. A departmental inquiry has been initiated against him, so as to verify the facts."

    On being asked about the statement of Benipal and the action taken on it by the police, the DIG said, "As the statement has been made now, and not at the time of the incident, we will verify facts and then take a suitable action on the same."

    It would be pertinent to mention here that in a widely criticised, ghastly incident of violence, sub-registrar Gurinder Singh Benipal was attacked by SAD councillors including Kamaljeet Singh Karwal and certain other accomplices in his office on Friday.

    Despite booking some two-dozen persons, including Karwal and Simarjeet Singh Bains, it was only Karwal, who had surrendered, whereas Bains was moving scott-free much to the chagrin of the victim and other officials of the department.

    DGP visit
    Injured sub-registrar Gurinder Singh Benipal on Friday got an assurance of justice by DGP KPS Gill, who dropped at the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital to see him on Sunday evening. Terming the attack as an unfortunate incident, Gill said there were democratic ways of getting complaints against any officer redressed and no one had right to attack any officer and his dignity, like this.
    Benipal accuses Bains of murderous assault on life

    Media Bares the Stamp Paper Scam
    Akalis expel councillor involved in attack on Tehsildar
    Ludhiana tehsildar Major Gurjinder Singh Benipal’s honesty costs him badly
    Attack on tehsildar Benipal condemned
    Revenue officers to proceed on leave en mass
    Attack on tehsildar: state govt invites flak from all corners
    Attack on tehsildar: Officials seek justice

    Romance of Photography: Digital Divide

    Long back in 1958 with my first face to face with my future wife, the ice, during the first awkward moments between the two strangers, was broken with my handing over one black and white print after another, from my collection, to her. Each photo as it passed hands, the hands, at time, touching inadvertently, introduced the family and me to her, in pictures and in steps, one at a time. Each print, exchanged bringing us one step closer with her finally becoming my stand-in model.
    Brig Lakshman Singh

    Dear Lakshman,
    What a wonderful expression of your romantic sentiments. You triggered my own moments with Veera in the early years which culminated in our marriage in 1956. (You remember that we had celebrated our Golden Anniversary worldwide in 2006, especially in New Delhi and Lucknow.) But the romance has not ended. It must continue despite the enforced changes due to the "progress" of mankind. You and I are partially responsible for these changes which are excellent in some respects, and not so in other. But C' est la vie! If I expound on this subject, I shall need to write another book.

    Speaking of the book, I hope that you have enjoyed reading my book as well as the "Summary". I shall certainly look forward to receiving your book when Ashok comes here next month. Why don't you come along with him too? We shall have BBQs, wine, and fresh fruits from my garden.

    Going back to the romance of photography, Kodak just announced that they will stop manufacturing their Kodachrome film later this year. There goes another nail in the coffin of the romantic photography. However, FYI (and as Ashok has known) I am still hanging on to my old Olympus film camera and using it for shooting all types of events all over the world. All my children and grandchildren own digital cameras except for me. Sooner or later I shall have to give in and get a suitable but simple to use digital camera. I shall try to discover my own finesse of romance of using it. Let us face it, romance is embedded in every human being's psyche. How to exploit it for progeny and pleasure is usually a personal attribute and secret!
    Keep up the romance all the time, all of you!
    Arjun Saxena

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    24 Jun 2009
    Dear Colleagues,
    IESM concept of OROP has again been conveyed to the government. We are seeking to remove the gap between the old and new pensioner instead of merely narrowing this gap.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Pension Parity Trivia
  • The ESM Pension is an income support payment which is inflation compensatory and non- erodible till death.
  • A War Disablement Pension is not compensation for an injury, it is a compensatory payment designed to counterbalance the impact of the injury on a Jawan’s quality of life.
  • A ESM can have War Disablement/ injury Pension coverage for any number of different disabilities.
  • A War Disablement Pension is a tax free, life time entitlement.
  • The largest number of Disablement Pension claims are for hearing loss but seldom granted.

    Pension Parity: Demands of Ex- Servicemen
    The veterans of armed forces “Agitations by military veterans” by retired Vice-Admiral Premvir Das, April 1 have been peacefully fighting for “one rank, one pension” and other injustices. These demands were presented to various political parties who accepted these as genuine and promised to give justice to the defence personnel.

    The implementation of the 6th CPC has humiliated not only the veterans but also those in service. So far, the authorities have only promised to remove some anomalies. Even the ultimate sacrifices of the defence personnel have not been able to rouse the conscience of the authorities.

    The returning of medals by the veterans was a peaceful, disciplined and authentic way of protest. However, our authorities react only when the situation goes beyond control and the public property and the people suffer.

    The veterans do not get any travel concessions. Rather, their civilian counterparts in the government get better travelling facilities and pension benefits.

    Recently, the defence forces expressed resentment against the report of the 6th Central Pay Commission. Ultimately, the government agreed to make many concessions and demand for a separate pay commission for the defence forces was also accepted. Very often, the defence personnel proclaim that they are the defenders of Indian borders. But, they forget that this is their primary duty. However, the demand for “one rank, one pension” is not unjustified. Instead, they should ask for parity in pension up to 2006, as the civilian pensioners are demanding. But they should refrain from returning their medals.
    SHER SINGH, Ludhiana
    Military agitation
  • Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    IESM: Chairman's Desk- OROP

    Dear Colleagues,
    The MOD committee under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary met today (Jun 23) to discuss OROP. Details are not yet known.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    The Supreme Commander of Armed Forces Mrs Pratibha Patil on 04 June 2009 announced that long pending demand of One Rank One Pension (OROP) of the Defence Forces will be reexamined and decision arrived at by 30 June 2009. The announcement has been widely welcomed by the Defence personnel specially the Ex-Servicemen who have been agitating for the past one year to press for their demands specially the One Rank One Pension. Deeply hurt and anguished at the apathy shown by the Govt in not accepting their main demand of OROP, they on four occasions deposited over 15000 gallantry and distinguished service medals with the President.

    The Indian Ex-servicemen Movement (IESM,) an umbrella organization for all Ex Servicemen of India appeals to the Govt that the committee headed by Mr Chandrasekhar must not dilute the Definition of OROP ie irrespective of the date of retirement, the Defence Personnel who have rendered same years of service and holding same rank must get same pension. Only the grant of Full Parity with the new pensioners will meet the ends of justice.

    We appeal to the Govt to accept the concept of One Rank One Pension with full Parity and make it the policy for grant of pensions to the Defence Personnel. Any other thoughts/proposal of One Time increase/ modified parity/ near parity will not be in line with the “Just and Fair” solution to the emotive issue of OROP. We are hopeful that the Govt will give due consideration to this important aspect of Defence Forces.

    One Rank One Pension

    SCPC: ESM cheated of entitled Pension by Banks: Highlights of sample cases

    Dear Veterans,
    In a reminder dated 23-06-2009 sent by Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh to Deptt of Defence Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi, League has expressed its anguish over the delayed and faulty implementation of various orders and notifications regarding the pension benefits of veterans. They are being killed inch by inch by such bureaucratic muddles.
    In a specific case of Pay fixation of Ex NK Janak Singh of Village Chamaru District, Patiala, Pension disbursing authority (Punjab National Bank Ghanaur) is paying him minimum pension instead of Nk's pension for the last about 15 years. After the implementation of recommendation of Sixth Central Pay Commission, he is being paid Rs. 66/- less than his actual pension which he should get as per his rank. He has written many request letters to his Records Office and PCDA (Pension), Allahabad but these seem to be fallen on deaf ears.
    This is not a solitary case. But as per the survey conducted by the league's block level office bearers, about 20% PBORs, drawing pension directly from the banks, are not being paid correct amount of pension due to them. Most of the old veterans among the PBORs, being illiterate can not check their correct pension. Efforts made by Indian Ex-Services League in two such cases, Sub Sher Singh (Retd) of Patiala State Forces was found to have been paid Sepoy's Pension since the Fifth Pay Commission. The league got him correct pension of Subedar along with an arrears of Rs 2,65,000/- a year before his death in June 2006, where as in the other case, Smt Surinder Kaur, the widow of a Subedar of Amloh, was being paid the pension of Sepoy's widow. League got her also the correct pension along with an arrears of Rs. 85,000/- that too about a year before his death in Dec 2007. Both were drawing pension directly from the Branches of State Bank of Patiala in their respective place of residence and have been requesting the Pension Disbursing Authorities to pay them correct pension for so many years but in vain.
    There are numerous such cases lying undetected/ unsolved and the authorities concerned are not taking any remedial measure to disburse the correct pension to the individuals. The Sixth Pay Commission has added more ambiguities to its recommendations and staff dealing with the disbursement of pension are not properly trained. In case of additional pension provisioned by the recommendation of Pay Commission, most of the veterans are not in a position to receive the correct pension since their Date of Birth is not mentioned in their PPOs. Their requests to the respective Records Offices to correct the entry of their Date of Birth are not being attended promptly as if the said Records Offices are waiting for the demise of old veterans so that they can close their cases.
    We all have to take up such cases of delayed action on the part of PCDA (Pension), Allahabad and Record Offices sacredly to get the veterans their due amount.
    Sgt Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS, Retd
    Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab & Chandigarh.

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    Criminalization of Citizens by the State

    Tamilnadu case study
  • Population of Tamilnadu: 6.5 crores
  • Ration Cards: 8 Crores
  • Bogus citizens: 1.5 crores
  • Freebies given to selected citizens
    1. Television
    2. Gas burner
    3. Sarees and Gold
    4. Computers and Laptops
    5. Rs 2 rice for poor
    6. Free electricity for poor and farmers
  • Councillors used for generating black money
  • Elected MP's involved in money laundering/ Hawala operation/ black money. Money so generated used for election and bribing the voters.
  • State run liquor business money utilised for financing and balancing state budget.
  • State Finances upped by Central Government.
  • Poor standard of infrastructure dotting and rotting all over the state and ill planned projects affecting the quality of life of citizens.
  • Politicians and Police being criminalised.
  • Government servants life style depends on bribes received.
  • All Public utilities and services run by government and authorities not held accountable.
  • Public sanitation adversely affecting health of citizens. Garbage strewn all over on the roads and stench emanating everywhere. No public toilets seen in cities.
  • Haphazard traffic, all roads dumped with building materials, filled with potholes or dug up for sewage or cable work. Illegal parking of commercial vehicles in front of residential houses and roads in all cities and towns, adding to traffic congestion and avoidable accidents.
  • All footpaths in towns and cities occupied by eateries and mobile shops and goondas. Public need to walk on main roads risking being hit by motor vehicles. Elderly and school children are victims of traffic deaths.
  • Deteriorating law and order where safety of ordinary citizens are at peril. Police remain mute spectators with no initiative to right the wrong. State owned Metro buses are traffic signal violators. Commercial vehicles mostly are steered by drunken drivers. All Politicians and Party Members of various Political Parties who drive don a flag and violate all traffic rules. No Police dares to check the authenticity of Political VIP's who drive rashly.

    E.V. Velu

    CHENNAI: If you go by the ration cards, the population of Tamil Nadu has crossed eight crore. The actual figure is around 6.5 crore, Food Minister E.V. Velu said in the Assembly on Monday, explaining the enormity of the problem.

    “Even the names of those who died before 1984 find a place in the ration cards,” Mr Velu said, revealing that 2,13,367 bogus cards were unearthed when a pilot project was launched in Coimbatore and in Anna Nagar in Chennai.

    “It was followed up in 10 districts and a total of 7,96,680 bogus cards were found. In the other 20 districts it will begin next month,” he said.

    The Minister, in his reply to the debate on the demand for grants for his department, explained that the cancellation of cards was not done in a hurried manner and the cardholder was given 90 days to prove its authenticity.

    Earlier, CPI(M) member G. Latha alleged that while the government had traced 18,000 bogus cards, no steps had been taken to provide new cards to genuine applicants.

    When Congress Legislature Party leader D. Sudarsanam wanted to know whether the packet of 10 spices now being sold through the public distribution system for Rs. 50 would be made available for Rs. 25, Mr. Velu said he would discuss the matter with the Chief Minister.

    Replying to PMK whip T. Velmurugan who complained about supply of adulterated chilli powder, the Minister said the government was procuring all items through a proper tendering process and the quality was being checked in laboratories. “We have returned six lakh items after they failed to meet quality norms,” he said.

    Mr.Velu rejected the allegation that the number of ration shops was not adequate, saying that the DMK government had opened 151 full-time shops and 1,266 part-time shops. As regards AIADMK whip K.A. Sengottaiyan’s allegation about rice smuggling, he said the DMK government had taken stringent action on the matter, including cancellation of permits and driving licences.

    “The AIADMK government only targeted drivers and cleaners. But we don’t spare the owners and others who are behind smuggling,” he further said.

    The Minister said as many as 462 vehicles had been seized and 66 persons arrested for not following the route chart prepared by the Food Department.

    Earlier, taking part in the debate, PMK member T.K. Raja came down on the freebies of the government, saying that “instead of distributing fish to people, the government must teach them fishing.”
    Nearly 8 lakh bogus ration cards unearthed in 10 districts: Minister
  • Maj GS Benipal Ex- Servicemen beaten up: Media bares it all

    Suspension of DC, SSP sought
    Kanchan Vasdev: Tribune News Service Ludhiana, June 22, 2009
    Activists of the joint action committee set up to seek justice for tehsildar Major GS Benipal today demanded the suspension of the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner and the Senior Superintendent of Police for not acting to protect the tehsildar despite repeatedly making urgent calls to administration officials.
    The activists also demanded dissolution of a special investigation team formed to look into the fake stamp paper racket and handing the case over to the CBI. They sought the probe into the assault too be handed over to an independent agency.

    After a four-hour-long meeting attended by employees and officials of various organisations, the committee’s spokesman, tehsildar KS Randhawa, demanded the immediate arrest of SAD councillor and Youth Akali Dal leader Simarjit Singh Bains. Noting the latter was a prime accused in the case, he said because of the police inefficiency and helplessness that he had yet not been arrested even though he was present at the DC's residence and also in Sadar police station premises. ‘‘This clearly shows their intention - they don’t have the guts to arrest him (Bains), ’’ he added.

    Producing copies of six letters written to the DC by Benipal during the past seven months seeking protection, Randhawa said the committee members wanted to know why the DC had not done anything about the case.

    Stating both Bains and SAD councillor and prime accused Kamaljit Singh Karwal had been booked by the police several times in the past, he said they were “roaming freely” and no action had yet been taken against them. ‘‘As many as four FIRs have been registered against Bains for threats and assault, besides three against Karwal, during the past five years.

    The committee activists said they would go on leave en masse for an indefinite period. They added they would every day sit on ‘sharnas’ in front of the respective DCs’ offices from 11 am to 2 pm till they were “delivered justice”.
    Attack on Tehsildar: Suspension of DC, SSP sought

    Ex-servicemen to bear expenses on HC case by Benipal
    Kanchan Vasdev Tribune News Service Ludhiana, June 22, 2009
    The Punjab and Chandigarh Ex-servicemen League today announced to bear the expenses of a case to be filed by Major GS Benipal, tehsildar, in the High Court regarding the fake stamp paper racket.

    Col Bhag Singh, an office-bearer of the league, said they would hire four award-winning lawyers of the High Court to fight this case and take it to its logical end.

    The Tribune today highlighted in these columns the wish of Major Benipal to fight the case in the High Court and not bow to any pressure.

    Col Bhag Singh said seven lakh ex-servicemen of the state were with Major Benipal.

    “Though Major Benipal is very well off, we want to tell him that we stand by him,” he added.

    A resident of Bathinda, Ravinder Singal, who is also a complainant in a similar stamp paper scam, said he, too, would fight for the cause along with Major Benipal.

    “I have spoken to him today and I will also move the HC along with him,” he added.
    Ex-servicemen to bear expenses on HC case by Benipal

    Links in the blog
    ESM beaten up in Ludhiana
    ESM mercilessly beaten up for honestly discharging his duties

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    22 June 2009
    Dear Colleagues,
    The MOD committee must be in deliberation now to take a view on OROP. The ESM continue calling to find out the latest. A problem that has remained unresolved for over 25 years naturally arouses apprehension along with expectations.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Not Forgotten in Britain: Subedhar Charan Singh during inspection (inset- 1937) now 86 years

    Enlarged Photo Click Me

    ESM beaten up in Ludhiana: Report

    IESM Pb & IESL Punjab & Chandigarh: Joint Protest Rally- meet DC and present Memorandum

    Dear Friends,
    1. We joined Revenue Department Rally at Ludhiana on 22/6/09. Hall was full of supporters from all over Punjab including about 100 prominent ESM, Org/ NGOs, in support of PCS Maj GS Benipal the ESM victim. He was medically Boarded out as Battle casualty due to leg broken injury, after 10 yrs, as SS Offr from Arty/ Fd Regt.
    2. Main ESM: Col Bhag Singh, Brig TS Toor, Col SS Sohi, Col AS Bhinder, Cpl JS Kumbrah, Col CS Khera, Sgt Sikander Singh, Capt PS Gill, Col Sodhi, Col Zora Singh, Col BS Dukhia, Col BS Grewal, Col RS Sohi, Col Surjit Singh...
    3. Incident narrated by eye witness colleague/ Revenue Officer. 2 MC (of SAD) with 10-12 goondas entered office of Maj Benipal Sub Tehsildar and dictated abusively to do their work/ Regn immediately. Maj Benpal told them to behave first. Maj had unearthed their stamp papers scam there & stopped their easy money which benefited Govt by crores of Rupees. It was a planned revenge under the blessings of top Punjab SAD Politicians, Revenue Minister Ajit Singh Kohat being around.
    4. MC Bains & Karwal with others dragged Maj out of Office, tore all his clothes/ naked, hit him with iron rods & sticks, broke his same injured leg & fired on his head to kill him finally. But Benipal fell down by then due to broken leg & luckily missed the bullet. Culprits thought bullet hit & killed him, so they left him & seized the area around with 400-500 men (Youth Akalies) shouting. Police was on helpless mission & never interfered to save Government servant on duty.
    5. Staff dragged bleeding naked Maj Benipal in the room. Meanwhile more staff joined & realised that he can be evacuated to Hospital in Police Vehicle only. Even Police took 45 Minutes to cover 10 minute route to hospital due to mobs of SAB workers blocking traffic.
    6. One Goonda was never arrested though entering all Govt/ Police Offices challenging even Police & the one arrested was kept in AC room as VIP served Samosas & Jalebis by Police. This looks to be a fit case for Central rule in Punjab.
    7. Other details you have been reading in papers.
    8. After sharing Rally for 2-3 hrs with Punjab Revenue staff, we went to DC Office & handed over a joint memorandum. DC kept sitting on chair & received it casually. Brig Toor, Col Bhag Singh, Col sohi with 3 more Offrs handed over the memorandum to DC.
    9. Rally Photos attached as above.
    With Regards,
    Col SS Sohi (Retd)

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    Members of the Armed Forces Tribunal appointed

    Monday, June 22, 2009 Ministry of Defence
    The Government has approved the appointment of following as Judicial and Administrative Members in the Armed Forces Tribunal (Principal Bench and Various Regional Benches), in scale of pay Rs. 26,000/- (fixed) (pre revised), for a period of 4 years from the date of assumption of the post or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

    Judicial Members
    1. Mr. Justice Janardan Sahai
    2. Mr. Justice K Padmanabhan Nair (Retd)
    3. Mr. Justice Shilendra Shanker Kulshrestha (Retd)
    4. Mr. Justice Ghanshyam Prasad (Retd)
    5. Mr. Justice Manak Lall Mohta
    6. Mr. Justice AC Arumugaperumal Adityan
    7. Mr. Justice Anwar Ahmad (Retd)
    8. Mr. Justice Bhanwaroo Khan

    Administrative Members
    1. Lt. Gen (Retd) S Pattabhiraman
    2. Lt. Gen (Retd) Amrik Singh Bahia
    3. Lt. Gen (Retd) Madan Gopal
    4. Lt. Gen (Retd) Susheel Gupta
    5. Lt. Gen (Retd) M L Naidu
    6. Lt. Gen (Retd) HS Panag
    7. Lt. Gen ( Retd) Thomas Mathew
    8. Lt. Gen ( Retd) PR Gangadharan
    9. Lt. Gen ( Retd) SS Dhillon
    10. Lt. Gen (Retd) ZU Shah
    11. Lt. Gen (Retd) RK Chhabra
    12. Lt. Gen (Retd) NS Brar
    13. Vice Adm (Retd) RF Contractor
    14. Lt. Gen (Retd) BS Sisodia
    15. Commodore (Retd) Mohan Phadke

    The Union Cabinet gave its approval for the creation of 31 posts for the Armed Forces Tribunal on June 24, 2008 paving the way for the creation of the proposed independent adjudicating forum for dispensing cost effective and speedy justice to the armed forces personnel. The posts include 1 of Chairperson and 29 posts of members for the Principal Bench at New Delhi and 8 Regional Branches. It also includes one post of Principal Registrar at the Principal Bench.

    The Principal Bench at New Delhi will have three courts and will have jurisdiction over High Courts in the State of Delhi. Similarly, the Chandigarh and Lucknow Benches will have 3 courts each. The Chandigarh Bench will have jurisdiction over Punjab, Haryana, J&K and Himachal Pradesh. The Lucknow Bench will have jurisdiction over Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh. The other locations for the Benches with one court each will be Kolkata, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai and Jaipur. The Kolkata Bench will have jurisdiction over West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The Guwahati Bench will have jurisdiction over Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh. The Mumbai Bench will have jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. While Kochi Bench will have jurisdiction over Kerala and Karnataka, Chennai Bench will look after Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. The Jaipur Bench will have jurisdiction over Rajasthan.

    The setting up of the Armed Forces Tribunal has fulfilled a long-felt need of the country’s three defence services. Over 9,800 cases filed by Service personnel are pending before various High Courts. The maximum number of cases numbering 2487 will be transferred to the Chandigarh Bench while 2407 will be adjudicated by the Lucknow Bench. Two thousand three hundred and six (2,306) cases are proposed to be transferred to the Delhi Principal Bench.

    The Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007 which was passed by the Parliament during the Winter Session of 2007 received the assent of the President on 25th December, 2007. The Act was notified on 28th December, 2007. It provides for adjudication or trial by the tribunal of disputes and complaints with respect to commission, appointments, enrolment and conditions of service in respect of persons subject to Three Services Acts as also for appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial held under the said Acts and for matters connected with them. The Act came into force with effect from 15th June, 2008. The Tribunal will have original jurisdiction in service matters and appellate jurisdiction in court martial matters. Mr. Justice Ashok Kumar Mathur was appointed as the Chairman of the Tribunal. The Tribunal will consist of 1 Chairperson, 14 judicial and 15 administrative members. The administrative members shall be officer of the rank of Major General or above in the Army or equivalent rank in the Navy or the Air Force with three years of service in that rank. JAG of three Services with at least one year of service as JAG shall also be eligible. The judicial member should be serving or retired judge of the High Court. All appointments to the Tribunal are made in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The Tribunal has powers to punish for its contempt.
    Samir / RAJ
    Members of the Armed Forces Tribunal appointed

    Comment: JAG branch needs to be streamlined and its officers impove their professional skills to ensure the system is just and free from influence and corruption.

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Dear Colleagues,
    Human limbs have been designed with ingenious dexterity. If it was intended that we pat our own backs, we would have had longer arms.
    Hope everyone enjoyed the longest day.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Summer Solstice
    In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year (near June 22) when the Sun is farthest north. In the southern hemisphere, winter and summer solstices are exchanged. The summer solstice marks the first day of the season of summer. The declination of the Sun on the (northern) summer solstice is known as the tropic of cancer (23° 27').

    The summer solstice is the longest day of the year, respectively, in the sense that the length of time elapsed between sunrise and sunset on this day is a maximum for the year. Of course, daylight saving time means that the first Sunday in April has 23 hours and the last Sunday in October has 25 hours, but these human meddling with the calendar do not correspond to the actual number of daylight hours. Sadly Indian summer is so intense one needs to really keep cool to perceive the longest day of the year.....Keep smiling especially those in hill stations where one can enjoy the cool atmosphere.

    RTI Vs OSA: People have right to know?

    A Tribune Special
    RTI underlines accountability, says Virendra Kumar

    President Pratibha Patil, while addressing the joint session of Parliament on June 4, has laid down the road-map for the new UPA government. Noting that creativity, innovation and enterprise held the key to people and nations realising their potential, she observed that the “dreary desert sand of dead habit” must be left behind.

    Pursuing the same strand, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his communication to his Cabinet colleagues, gently reminded that “equity, innovation and public accountability must be the watchword of our government”.

    One of the conspicuous and perhaps the most critical areas where the ‘dead habit continues to be the de-railing factor of democracy is the absence of accountability of public functionaries at different levels of governance. This bureaucratic culture of non-accountability is not only protected but also accentuated by the ‘dead habit’ of ‘secrecy’ which continues to derive its sustenance from the survival of the Official Secrets Act of 1923. This is so despite the neutralising effect of the Right to Information Act of 2005.
    People have the right to know

    Comment: Many innocent citizens and government servants have been framed by GOI and cases being dragged in the courts and pursued at Public Cost for several years for exposing bureaucratic corruption. There is a need to streamline and stop witch hunting and gross misuse of powers under the guise of "Official Secrecy act".

    Nuclear Threat: Strategic Scene

    INDIA’s strategic environment has altered dramatically. In a perilous situation, we face three tough challenges (China has played a conspicuous role in two of them).

    First, Pakistan has been adding quantitative and qualitative teeth to its nuclear arsenal with two Chinese supplied plutonium reactors in its Khushab facility, indicating success of its efforts to produce advanced compact warheads. A US Congressional research service report now credits Pakistan with developing parity with India, even as it continues expanding and accelerating its nuclear weapons programme.

    The report says, Pakistan achieved this through concealed and hardened missile silos complemented by mobile missiles, all under upgraded air-defence shields. These revelations do have a ring of authenticity.

    Meanwhile, North Korea called the West’s bluff to emerge from the nuclear closet as an overt Nuclear Weapon State (NWS) and exposed the West’s’ toothless threats. The efficacy of UN-imposed sanctions rests critically on Chinese enforcement – a doubtful proposition. Can Iran now be far behind, if Ahmadinejad’s resounding re-election gets confirmed?

    The Asian landmass is fairly bristling with NWS actors. Our nine-year-old nuclear deterrent remains ‘work-in- progress’. Our Scud-type liquid-fuelled missiles can only reach Pakistan whose missiles of Chinese and North Korean origin are decidedly superior. China has stepped forward its India-targeted missiles to Tibet, minimising our reaction time for detection of launch and for taking defensive measures. In response, our retaliatory second strike cannot reach even close to China’s heartland
    Read more: Taking care of security: Get priorities right to face challenges by Maj Gen Pushpendra Singh (Retd)

    Related article
    Drone Attacks and Taliban: Will it deter Taliban from stealing WMD from Pakistan?
    US-PAKISTAN: CIA Secrecy on Drone Attacks Data Hides Abuses By Gareth Porter

    Kargil War Hero Killed by Dacoits

    Kargil war veteran Baldev Singh was shot dead and robbed by three men in Bhajanpura, North-east District of Delhi. He was carrying Rs 8.45 lakh. The incident occurred around 10 am barely 50 metres from a police picket — reportedly manned by two personnel...” This is an excerpt from a story that appeared in last Tuesday’s newspapers. The incident had occurred the previous day. At a very superficial level, this story tells us about the appalling law and order situation that prevails in the nation’s capital city where policemen are deployed to protect the precious lives of ‘Very Very Important Persons’ who, by virtue of their status as Ministers, MPs and bureaucrats, are entitled to security while commoners who toil so that they can keep the VVIPs, their spouses and their progeny in comfort, find themselves at the mercy of gangsters, murderers and rapists. Lutyens’ Delhi is the modern day Diwan-i-Khaas while the rest of the metropolis, in large patches squalid, overcrowded and bereft of civic facilities, is the Diwan-i-Aam. The glittering chrome-and-glass malls, the multiplexes and the fancy restaurants with unhygienic kitchens — my companion is still recovering from the ravages of typhoid that went undetected for almost a fortnight at an upmarket hospital — and the perpetually under-construction flyovers help cover the ugly underbelly of life in Delhi. Living in the national capital is bad; living in the National Capital Region is worse.

    But let’s get back to where we began: The murder of an Army veteran, a man who fought in the last war we faced, in, as media is fond of describing, broad daylight, a short distance from a police picket where two worthies in khaki were reportedly on duty. The police claim to have ‘cracked’ the case; four men have been arrested; the story has been duly published; and, that is the last we shall ever hear of this murder. It could be argued that the killers were ignorant of Baldev Singh’s background, that he had helped regain territory we almost lost to Pakistan in the summer of 1999. But that’s unlikely as they were aware of his responsibility of collecting cash from the petrol pump where he worked and depositing it in a bank. They would have also been told of who Baldev Singh was by their informers. So, here we have a shocking incident of Indians killing an Army veteran who had risked his life for the country’s defence and the nation’s territorial integrity. We haven’t heard a pip-squeak from our so-called ‘civil society’ which is prompt in holding candle light vigils for dubious causes or 24x7 news channel celebrities whose hearts bleed for the cherubic faced ‘Butcher of Mumbai’ — one of them recently wrote a touching article in a national daily whose sum and substance was: Look at this poor lad who should be playing football and cricket in Faridkot and returning home to the comforting arms of his mummy every evening; does he deserve to swing at the end of a rope? Yes he does. As do the four men who killed Baldev Singh.

    The point, really, is not merely about our society grown callous and indifferent, or the rapidly diminishing sense of national pride. It is also about the Government choosing not to remember wars fought by our soldiers and honouring our heroes — those who lived to tell tales of valour and those who fell on the battlefield. We have an annual ceremony to honour the unknown soldier at Amar Jawan Jyoti, the memorial at India Gate, and that’s about all. We do not celebrate our spectacular military victory in 1971 lest Pakistanis are offended and reminded of Mrs Indira Gandhi’s audacious decision to rend asunder Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s “moth-eaten Pakistan” and deliver Bangladeshis from the rapacious tyranny of West Pakistan. There’s a sneaking suspicion that December 16 is studiously ignored by our politicians (including, and it must be noted, those of the BJP) because the observance of Victory Day could ‘hurt’ Islamist sentiments at home.

    So, it is not entirely surprising that the Government should also ignore Vijay Diwas — July 26 — the day a defeated, devastated and demoralised Pakistani Army turned tail and fled from the heights of Kargil, more precisely, the few remaining bunkers in its control, leaving its dead to rot in the rocky wilderness of Drass, Kaksar and Mashkoh Valley. Nor should it be surprising if Indians who have come of age in this past decade — those who were eight years old in 1999 — are ignorant of the tumultuous events whose tremors were felt around the world and shook the US into taking, for the first (and only) time in six decades, a firm stand against Pakistan. In fact, a pop quiz would reveal very few of us remember the details of the Kargil war, as also the other wars that have been forced on us. When Tiger Hill was taken back from the Pakistani intruders, there were celebrations across the country. But how many of us remember that outpouring of national pride? Or, that 533 of our finest and bravest men died during Operation Vijay?

    One story that should be remembered by us, and told to our children again and again lest future generations forget, is that of Captain Saurabh Kalia and his team of five soldiers who were on duty at Bajrang Post in the Kaksar area on May 15. Suddenly there was heavy firing from across the Line of Control; Captain Kalia and his men responded in full measure; tragically, they ran out of ammunition. Before they could send out an SOS (there have been suggestions that their communications equipment failed to work), Captain Kalia and his men were surrounded by Pakistani soldiers. Later, Skardu Radio reported that they had been taken alive. On June 7, 1999, their bodies were handed over by the Pakistani Army. For the 20-odd days that Captain Kalia and his men were alive, they were brutally tortured in captivity — their mutilated bodies bore the evidence of chilling inhumanity: Ear drums pierced with hot iron rods, eyeballs carved out with knives, genitals chopped off, every bone broken and splintered. And, after all this, they were shot in the head. No apology was offered, none was sought!

    On the first anniversary of our victory in Kargil, there were official celebrations and the martyrs’ supreme sacrifice was recalled. By 2001, the then BJP-led NDA Government’s fervour had begun to taper off. A year later, July 26 was knocked off the calendar of national events as it was seen to be an obstacle on the path to peace! Since then, the day has come and gone, year after year, without the Government taking note of it in the mistaken notion that by doing so, it would keep the Pakistanis in good humour.

    But even if cynical politicians and a callous Government fail to honour the memory of Captain Kalia and 532 other men who died in the Kargil war, should we the people of India forget them too? Think about this between now and July 26. Reflect, resolve and react.
    Cowards in a nation of braves by Kanchan Gupta

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    War memorial: Let's bring our heroes home

    By: Anshuman G Dutta Date: 2009-06-19 Place: Delhi
    Defence forces resume their demand to build a national war memorial for Indian soldiers
    Have you ever scanned the walls of India Gate? If you have, you must have rolled your eyes over the names of the 90,000 soldiers, in whose memory the monument was built. These soldiers gave their lives during the two World Wars. Brave souls, we agree; but what about the thousands others who died fighting Pakistan and China after India's Independence? Even though India has fought five wars in the last seven decades (including the military conflict with Pakistan in 1948), there is hardly anything to commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty.

    Curiously, the proposal to construct a National War Memorial in Delhi for these bravehearts was mooted in the 60s. The file, however, has been lost in transit between various ministries.

    "The proposal was drawn up in the 60s and is now being revived. The plan is to construct a war memorial near India Gate, which was built in the honour of British Indian soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and II. We managed to receive sanctions from several parties who have stakes in India Gate but now the proposal is stuck with the Environment Ministry," said an official from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), wishing anonymity.

    He hinted at a strong undercurrent of dissent in the defence forces against India Gate representing the country's martyrs.

    "India Gate was constructed by the British for the Indian soldiers who served in the Royal British Army. Celebrating Republic Day at India Gate feels like as if we are still under the British rule. It's unfortunate we could not construct a war memorial for our soldiers even after 60 years of Independence," said an officer of the Indian Army, wishing anonymity.

    Sources said the design of the proposed memorial has been accepted by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Urban Art Commission and the Central Vista Committee.

    "But the Environment Ministry is not giving the green signal. It says the proposed structure can spoil the ambience of the present structures at India Gate. But the new memorial won't disturb anything," said the official.

    But now the Ministry of Defence is has made up its mind to give a final push to the plan to construct the memorial and has also decided to bear the entire cost. "The new memorial's architecture will blend with other heritage monuments on Rajpath. We hope we will be able to honour our martyrs finally," the official added.

    The new memorial
    The plan of the memorial includes a 10-feet-high wall around India Gate on which names of soldiers will be etched. There will be an amphitheatre behind India Gate. The amphitheatre, with a ramp on each side, will have a central hall decorated with materials recovered from the various wars our soldiers have fought
    Let's bring our heroes home

    IESM: Chairman's Desk

    Date: Saturday, 20 June, 2009, 11:27 PM
    Dear Colleagues,
    A delegation comprising Admiral Barin Ghose, Gen Satbir Singh, Hony Capt JS Rathi, Hony Capt Jai Chand, MWO Bala, Dfr Jai Singh and self met the Defence Minister on 20 Jun 2009. After felicitating him for his reappointment as the Defence Minister and thanking him for having the OROP issue included in the Presidential address to the two Houses of Parliament, we renewed our request for implementing OROP. We encapsulated its concept.
    Mr Antony suggested that on OROP we should work with members of the Government committee mandated to resolve the OROP issue as well as with the RRM, Mr Pallam Raju, who is handling the subject. We promised to fully cooperate with them and would render all possible help to find a solution to this long standing problem.
    Following on, I wrote to Mr Pallam Raju and Secretary Ex Servicemen Welfare Department giving reference of and summarising our earlier meeting with the RM.
    After every meeting with Mr Antony, at least I come away deeply impressed with his honesty of purpose, his sincerity and his genuine concern for the welfare of Ex Servicemen. His body language is encouraging and despite his frugality with words he creates a positive impression. One does sincerely hope his intent gets translated into results.
    Best regards,
    Lt Gen (Emeritus) Raj Kadyan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
    Chairman IESM

    Romance of Photography down the Century

    It started with the advent of Polaroid film and cameras which produced instant colour prints, a case, of wonder and amusement. And then came the earlier digital cameras expensive and with not so good resolution. However, the down slide had started. The film camera were loosing the battle slowly albeit surely. Earlier one bought the film, loaded the camera, over time exposed the 8, 12, 20 or 35 exposures of the 120, 620 or 35 MM film, every time struggling to find the right combination of the shutter speed, lens aperture and the depth of field; all depending on the ASA or the DIN rating of the film and the light conditions of the day and time.

    And then came the ‘Aim and Shoot’ camera first the film and later the digital, taking out the drudgery from picture taking as also the creativity. I do recall, me back in 1952’s and 53’s, moving up and down the mountain trails of Nanital and surroundings, with my Franka Solida or the Agfa Silette, both loaded with black and white 200 ASA film, looking through the view finder, not at the lcd screens of today, seeking for a picture and not just a photo.

    Pushing the exposed film roll across the counter of the Photo Shop for developing and printing, waiting anxiously with anticipation till the next evenings for the wallet with the negatives and the prints, holding the prints like a hand of playing cards, looking at one at a time; at times with dismay at the blotched result and others with excitement at the Gem in my hand: that was Romance of Photography.

    Today with every thing ‘instant’ with click, view, save, delete there is no anticipation left nor any suspense felt for the expected and the unexpected, especially with the advent of the camera in phone now all and sundry have become photo artists: the romance is truly dead. Long back in 1958 with my first face to face with my future wife, the ice, during the first awkward moments between the two strangers, was broken with my handing over one black and white print after another, from my collection, to her. Each photo as it passed hands, the hands, at time, touching inadvertently, introduced the family and me to her, in pictures and in steps, one at a time. Each print, exchanged bringing us one step closer with her finally becoming my stand-in model.

    Possibly in present scenario, I would have been sitting at my PC, the digital pictures appearing in a slide show, with her standing by the side, disinterested, unfocused eyes drifting around and away from the fleeting images hardly making any impact emotional or otherwise with little chance of a romance budding. With her gone and no model at hand I keep looking at my three film cameras lying desolate and unused with my Nokia camera phone in hand. Click View and Delete; the romance of photography as also the literal is truly dead; right and proper, at least for me.
    Brig Lakshman Singh (Retd)

    ESM mercilessly beaten up for honestly discharging his duties

    Dear Col. Khera,
    It was in deed distressing to note the state of affairs prevailing in Punjab. Today's morning paper has given a shock to ex-services community and every one who feels the pinch of it should come forward to contribute his might to set the things right for the ESMs. We, on our part, have faxed the details of this case to the concerned quarters for appropriate action to get the justice for the victim, Maj. G.S. Benipal. We will also response the call given by any well wisher of ESMs, as and when required. We, through this message request Big Brothers also who are, presently, free from OROP exercise to take notice of this case and do the needful as requered. Copy of our communique is as under:

    IESL/13/2009 Dated 20 June, 2009
    Secretary to Govt. of India,
    Deptt. of Home,
    New Delhi – 110011.
    Dear Sir,
    We draw your attention to the news item appeared in 'Tribune' and 'Ajit', both dt. 20-06-2009. Copies enclosed for your perusal.
    It requires no words to express the chaos prevailing in Punjab where even the Govt. officer is not safe while performing his duty sincerely. The victim of such apathy in this case is Maj. G.S. Benipal (Red) re-employed as Naib Tehsildar and functioning as Sub-Registrar at Ludhiana. He has been beaten mercilessly with rods and hockey sticks by, so called, SAD workers in his office because Maj. G.S. Benipal was a whistle blower in a stamp paper scam and the said workers were mostly involved in that scam. It is confirmed by the victim that he has already intimated earlier to Deputy Commissioner and the Police about threats to his life from the said persons but no action was taken so far.
    As such, we request a High Level enquiry by CBI and an appropriate action to be taken against the accused persons.
    We shall be much obliged.
    (Sgt. Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS Retd.)
    1. Secretary to Govt. of India Ministry of Defence, Sena Bhawan, South Block, New Delhi with request to take necessary steps to get the justice done to Maj. G.S. Benipal (Retd.).
    2. Hon'ble Governor, Punjab, with request to look in to the case, personally, and accord justice to the victim of this case Maj. G.S. Benipal (Retd.).
    3. Chief Secretary, Govt. of Punjab, Punjab, Chandigarh for appropriate action in the case.
    Sgt Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS (Retd)

    Kargil Divas 19-26 July 2009 Programme

    Dear Friends
    1. 26 July 1999 was the Day when our Armed Forces recaptured the last Hill Top from the Pakistan infiltrators. Our Armed Forces personnel have always demonstrated the gallant fighting spirit to safe guard the sovereignty of our great Nation. The Steering Committee of IESM after detailed deliberations and wider interaction with other ESM organizations and ESM has decided to relive the Kargil War through participative events across country involving the citizenry from 19– 26 July 2009. The plan of action for the events is attached.
    2. Certain cities have been suggested for conducting the events. However, based on the local situation and conditions State convenors in consultation with district/ city committees may make suitable changes and conduct the events in the most befitting manner. Additional locations where the events may be held in various states/cities may be planned. State convenors may kingly send the final plan of action to the undersigned. After action reports may also be sent to the undersigned.
    3. Maximum participation of ESM and citizens of the country be organized to ensure that the countrymen specially the youth adequately know about, the noblest profession- the profession of arms which demands the supreme sacrifice of life to safe guard the freedom and sovereignty of the country. The events should be planned and executed with intensity from 19 – 26 Jul 2009.
    4. Maximum publicity be given to the plan of action. All ESM organizations and ESM having liaison with the media both print and electronic are requested to arrange maximum media coverage. We also plan to request Cinema Halls owners and TV Channels to run one free show throughout the country of the movie “Lakhsh” during the week 19 – 26 Jul 2009 by giving wide publicity for the same.
    5. May we request the ESM having flair for writing to write articles, anecdotes heroic deeds/stories of our soldiers and get these published in various national/local dailies/periodical.
    6. The whole nation is requested to join the IESM in conducting the planned events in the most befitting manner. NGOs, corporates, social organizations and all other institutions are requested to pool in and volunteer to assist in conducting the events. ESM working with various organizations are requested to coordinate assistance and cooperation from their respective organizations. All such information may please be sent to the undersigned.
    7. We are also looking for additions to our events from volunteer organizations. ESM may kindly help in this regard with finalized action plans.
    8. Friends, let us remind ourselves:
    Ours is the finest professional Army in the world (the term includes all three services Army, Navy and Air force). Our leaders lead from the front. We have the highest officers to Jawan martyrdom ratio in the world. “Yeh Dil Mange Mor” (were the words of Maj Vikram Batra the gallant officer who kissed martyrdom during the Kargil War. Our Defence Personnel are ready to sacrifice their lives without counting any thing in return. 18 Widows in one operation from our village of Haryana. 12 of them are the members of IESM. 2- 3 dead bodies of our soldiers arrive at various air fields of the country every day even when there is no War, fighting the terrorists and militants. The martyrs remind the nation:
    “We gave our Today for your Tomorrow”
    “Shahedo Ki Chitaon pe Lagenge Har Varsh Mele, Vatan pe mitne walon Ka yahi baki Nishan hoga”
    With Kind Regards,
    Jai Hind
    Yours Sincerely,
    Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM
    Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement
    Kargil Divas Plan for Action: click me


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