STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: War Veterans and ex-servicemen (ESM) of Army, Navy and Air Force, enjoy a prestigious place in society and are cared for and respected by according priority in entire country. However, those belonging from J&K receive step motherly treatment as if they were from an alien occupation force. They had great expectations from the Lt Governor after abrogation of Articles 370 & 35A, but with 80 per cent status quo of secretariat staff, things went bad to worse with no answerability. It was stated by Sr Advisor of JKESL Col Dr Virendra K Sahi, VrC in a press note issued here on Monday. The Director of NGO ‘War Decorated India’, repeatedly elected unopposed for 21 years, Col Sahi interacted with ESM from J&K and based on inputs from disappointed ESM contacted Director Sainik Welfare Department in this regard. “Director Sainik Welfare Department is assisted by 13 Zila Sainik Welfare Officers (ZSWO) including four new ZSWO, who are not appointed since 2018. The appointments were to be made under SRO-71 of 1971, replaced by SRO-75 of Jan 2019. Posts were advertised in July, August and September 2018 for 4 ZSWOs. The vacancies are yet to be filled with all matters pending. As of now, 10 out of 13 ZSWOs will be vacant or soon falling vacant making the organisation defunct at district levels, including Kupwara, R S Pura, Reasi, Akhnoor, Baramulla, while Rajouri, Srinagar, Jammu, Poonch, Udhampur are falling vacant later in 2020. Director SWD, when contacted, informed that the matter has been sent to the Home Department, where it is pending. There is no accountability, no Advisor to approach. Poor ESM are suffering in the last leg of their dedicated lives like children of lesser Gods,” he asserted. Highlighting grievance of ESM, Col Sahi said besides routine matters of allowances, welfare, education of wards of war-widows, scholarship documentation, monitory assistance, pensions or distress help, other pending issues of ESM are non-implementation of 6 per cent job reservation for young retired ESM, who are rendered jobless at 35-37 years of age and need a second career to sustain. “The housing Colony at Srinagar has again been denied. Govt approved self-financed Fauji Colony projects of J&K Ex-servicemen league is hanging in air for over two decades. Annual grant (Annuity) to gallant warriors and war widows has not been revised for 12 long years, which has been revised bi-annually in all other States/UTs,” he added. ESM fraternity has given their best years of life to the nation, suffered injuries or made supreme sacrifices and it is the duty of the Government to care for their widows or them, when they are old/ handicapped, said Col Sahi, urging Lt Governor to assign SWD to an Advisor so that he can ask for progress of cases and issue clear directives regarding ESM welfare matters in a time bound manner.
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