With Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar failing to keep his promised meeting with agitating ex-servicemen on Wednesday, the veterans decided not to seek any more meetings with political leadership over the ‘One Rank One Pension’ issue.
The agitating ex-servicemen also said that anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare will join their protest shortly.
“There was no meeting with the defence minister today (Wednesday). We have decided not to make further requests for a meeting to any one (political leader),” Col. Anil Kaul (retd), a spokesman of the United Front of Ex-Servicemen Morcha (UFESM) said.
“The onus for any further meetings now lies with the establishment,” he said.
According to UFESM, Parrikar told the protesting veterans last week that the complications around OROP have been sorted out and promised to meet them this week.
The meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, but was cancelled later.
Meanwhile, the protest by ex-servicemen over the OROP continued for the 25th day on Wednesday. It started on June 14. Since June 15, the veterans have been holding a relay hunger strike.
The ex-servicemen are demanding a definite date from the government for OROP implementation. They also demanded that the nature of the scheme should not be changed.
Currently, the pension of retired personnel is based on the pay commission recommendations in force at the time of their retirement.
This leads to a difference in pensions for officers of the same rank who retire on different dates.
With OROP, earlier retired personnel would draw the same pension as officers and jawans of the same rank who are retiring now.
They would also be entitled to a year’s back pensions at the new rate, which would be a windfall for pensioners.
OROP will benefit 25 lakh ex-servicemen. It is expected to cost the government around Rs.8,500 crore.