War hero’s aged mother given the run around

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Dec 2, 2013.



    Sep 22, 2012
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    Detroit MI
    The 87-year-old has been denied benefits she is entitled to as the mother of Vir Chakra awardee Sheshanna Manjunath; `30 lakh due to her over the last 17 years

    The state department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement and the army authorities have denied the 87-year-old mother of a gallant lieutenant -- who achieved martyrdom while commanding a platoon of 21 Rajput Regiment in 1971 Indo-Pak war -- basic facilities like ECHS (ex-servicemen contributory health scheme) and CSD (canteen stores department) or travel concession by air, rail, and bus till date, to which she is entitled.

    Second Lieutenant Sheshanna Manjunath was awarded VrC (Vir Chakra) posthumously. But his octogenarian mother, who will observe the martyr's 42nd death anniversary on Tuesday, is running from pillar to post.

    While she initially made a plea to the department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement seeking facilities, the deputy director of Shimoga district sought a substitute service certificate to authorize R G Shanthamma as next of kin (NOK) of Manjunath, from army. The officer of department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement wrote to the additional directorate general of manpower. The additional directorate general of manpower, a branch of army, said that the name of Shanthamma was not recorded in the veteran register of the Indian Army.

    The 23-year-old Vekare Ex Servicement Trust pursuing the case found that the allowances for the gallantry award VrC was not mentioned in the pension paid to her. Shanthamma is paid a pension of Rs 6,900 per month, but she is entitled to Rs 49,638 per month. She was underpaid to an extent of over Rs 30 lakh for a period between Jan 1, 1996 to October 31, 2013.

    "When she approached the trust, we found out how non application of mind had pushed a Veer Matha in such trouble. We got the consent to make her a member of ECHS and get canteen facilities from air officer commanding of No.2 Air Force selection board, Air Commodore, O P Tiwari, based on the pension payment order (GOI). This PPO is sanctioned based on documents with PCDA. We have taken it up and written to authorities as she is been asked to file an affidavit that her monthly income is Rs 3,500 to prove that she is a dependent on a martyr army officer and prove she is his mother. This is not appropriate. Beyond that she is also entitled for liberalised family pension, which she is not getting at all," Ex Sgt M N Subramani, a senior non-commissioned officer of the Indian Air force told Bangalore Mirror.

    The authorities' application of mind would have avoided Shanthamma's plight, say trust members, who have now taken up the fight for her.

    "When the Deputy Director, department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement, Shimoga is well aware that widow mother of a martyr is in receipt of defence pension, they should have concluded that she is the Veer Matha of Manjunath. Secondly when it comes to the army authorities, the PPO (pension payment order) is based on the documents with the army and is sanctioned by PCDA (principal controller of defence accounts). Despite one of the army wings (PCDA) sanctioning pension recognising the martyr's mother as NOK, the ADGM (policy and planning) said otherwise, landing her the lurch as she is deprived of basic facilities she is entitled for. Had the deputy director, Shimoga applied her mind, her plight would have ended there itself," Subramani added.

    The plight

    Manjunath was killed in active operation on December 3, 1971 while leading his platoon. As Manjunath was unmarried, his NOK was his father, Sheshanna. In 1972, Sheshanna was sanctioned family pension of Rs 200 per month and Rs 50 per month as a monetary allowance for gallantry award.

    After Sheshanna's demise in 1979, R G Shanthamma was granted family pension of Rs.133.35 per month since 1980. In 2011, she approached the deputy director of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement, Shimoga and requested help to become a member of ECHS and CSD facilities. However this was denied on the grounds that she didn't have in her possession any identity card, documents and substitute service particulars to prove that she was mother of the officer.

    This, even as the rehabilitation and welfare section, ceremonial and welfare directorate, has martyr's documents based on which his mother Shanthamma was granted a one-time grant of Rs 1 lakh.

    Officials say

    However, the district brass, when contacted, said that Shanthamma had come only once and had not raised the issues of ECHS and CDS, except once when her son had come seeking it.

    "She had come once to our office and that too to take Rs 2 lakh given by the government of Karnataka. Then she didn't come at all," ex-military nursing officer with a rank of Lt Col, Geetha M Shetty, who is deputy director, department of Sainik Welfare and Resettlement, Shimoga told Bangalore Mirror.

    "He is a decorated war hero. If such a thing can happen to him what will happen to Jawans. The mother is already getting a family pension. And it is hilarious to ask her for proof again. Care should have been taken as this is a case of a decorated war hero awarded Vir Chakra posthumously. I'm sure that VeKare will take care of it now and she has to get a liberalisation pension and not the pittance she has been paid," Col M C Lavkumar (retd) said.

    War hero’s aged mother given the run around - Bangalore Mirror

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