Monday, July 20, 2009

Chhattisgarh cops question relief disparity for Naxal victims

Post CommentLarger | Smaller Joseph John

Posted: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 at 0229 hrs

Clinging to technicalities, the Chhattisgarh government is refusing extraordinary pension to families of a section of security personnel who had laid down their lives fighting Maoist rebels. The government is arguing that they are not eligible for it as they joined service after the new defined contribution pension scheme for employees recruited since January 2004 came into existence.

The government stand has put the police department in fix. For long the department has been struggling to keep up the morale of its forces in the wake of incidents of Naxalite violence and high police causalities in more than a dozen out of the state’s 18 districts.

The families of those who joined the force before January 2004 are entitled for an extraordinary monthly pension — equivalents to the last pay drawn — and medical benefits if the police personnel is killed. In contrast, families of those who joined after the scheme came into existence, get only a meagre one-time amount, comprising the personnel’s own contribution during his short service, and a matching amount from the government in the event of death.

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“Both categories of security personnel killed while fighting the Naxalites are undisputedly martyrs. Is it not discriminatory to deny death benefits to the recruits of 2004 onwards, just because they are covered under a new scheme?” asked a senior police officer serving in the Naxal belt. “As far as extraordinary pension to the families of those killed in action are concerned, the new scheme has turned out to be inferior to the previous GPF scheme,” he pointed out.

A constable who joined after 2004 and served for one year before getting killed fighting the Naxalites would only have a few thousand rupees as his contribution, explained the officer. However, the families of those who joined the service before 2004 would continue to get extraordinary pension related medical benefits for the entire remaining period of service of the deceased.

“Young constables, mostly aged around 22 years with just one to five years of service, will certainly form part of any anti-Naxalite operation, besides others who joined the service before him. When both categories of security personnel get killed in a single incident, how can we grant extraordinary pension only to one category and deny the same to others?” he asked.

Pointing out there are more than two dozen security personnel, who joined the service after January 2004 and were subsequently killed in action, Home Department sources said the state police had put up a proposal before the government recommending extraordinary pension to such personnel too. But the proposal finally landed at the state the Finance Department, which allegedly took a position against granting extraordinary pension to all personnel as they were covered under the New Contributory Pension Scheme.

Refusing to comment on the situation, DGP Vishwaranjan told The Indian Express that the “matter was under consideration of the state government”.


Naxal violence to dominate Assembly

Raipur: The Monsoon Session of the Chhattisgarh Assembly beginning Monday is all set to be stormy with the Opposition Congress set to stall the proceedings to demand removal of state home minister and senior police officers over the latest Naxalite attack in Rajnandgaon. “The BJP government and its police have adopted a ‘pedestrian’ approach in fighting the Naxalites. We are considering not to allow a smooth conduct of the Assembly unless the government fixes responsibility on senior police officers in the loss of 30 lives in Rajnandgaon, and replaces Home Minister Nankiram Kanwar, if need be,” Leader of the Opposition in the House Ravindra Choubey said. ens

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