After holding nationwide protests, ex-servicemen on Monday began a relay hunger strike over the delay in implementation of the ‘One Rank, One Pension'(OROP).
Close to 22 lakh ex-servicemen and over six lakh war widows stand to be the immediate beneficiaries of the scheme which envisages uniform pension for the defence personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
They also said that they have sought an appointment with the President Pranab Mukherjee to take up this matter.
The Congress attacked the Centre on Monday over the issue and said that the government will have to implement the scheme immediately.
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to implement the scheme, Congress spokesperson P L Punia asked when it would done.
“During (2014 Lok Sabha) poll campaign, they asserted they will allow One Rank, One Pension. But what happened now? In his radio programme Mann Ki Baat he says he will do it. Do it, but when? He should tell or whether this too will remain mere announcement? The ex-servicemen today find themselves cheated. Then UPA-II Government’s decision should be implemented and we support the ex-servicemen’s agitation. We are part of their fight,” Punia said.
Even Congress leader Digvijay Singh spoke on this issue and said it is the collective credibility of all politicians at stake over the implementation of OROP.
“One rank one pension is a commitment made to Defence Personnel by both UPA and NDA Govts. Can’t go back on it.Collective Credibility of all Politicians & Political Parties at stake. Would PM show courage or it is another U Turn?” he said.
Hundreds of ex-servicemen had on Sunday took to the streets across the country, demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi forthwith fulfil his promise made a year back on it. Protests were also held in Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and other states covering over 50 cities, he said.
The ex-servicemen maintained that they were not against any government but are pressing to get their long-pending dues.