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Sunday, 11 December 2011

From Today's Papers - 11 Dec 2011

Sailor gets disability pension after 36-year wait
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, December 10 After running from pillar to post, a disabled Navy sailor who had suffered head injuries on a ship almost 40 years ago has been sanctioned disability pension with effect from 1975.  Holding that the sailor was entitled benefits for 20% disability for life, the Armed Forces Tribunal also ordered the pension authorities to pay the sailor interest on arrears since 1975 at the rate of 12% per annum.  Jai Bhagwan Sharma enrolled in the Navy in 1965 and served till 1973. He had also taken part in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. During service, he hurt his head when a high-pressure steam pipe burst in the engine room of his ship in 1972.  After a long hospital stay, Sharma was boarded out of service on medical grounds. He began experiencing frequent bouts of severe headaches, which led to neurological complications, and was diagnosed as a case of neurosis. His disability was assessed at 20% and attributed to military service.  Sharma was granted disability pension of Rs 59 per month from June 1973 to March 1975 and Rs 50 per month for life thereafter. He was hospitalised twice in 1974 and 1975 for cerebral seizures and was referred to the Dr Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences for clinical investigations and treatment.  In 1990, Sharma was examined at AIIMS and found handicapped to the extent of 75%. He was under treatment for life and his vision has also become very weak.  In June 2001, when Sharma visited the Pension Distribution Officer for yearly identification, he discovered that the disability pension has two elements -- disability and service -- and that payment of disability element of his pension had been discontinued since 1975 without any reason or intimation.  Sharma wrote to the authorities for holding a resurvey medical board and also sought payment of his pension’s disability element from 1975. When there was no response, he moved the Delhi High Court, which directed the authorities to consider his representation within three months. Even this order was not adhered to.  What followed next was a series of legal and bureaucratic wrangling and in 2005 he received a communiqué that he was granted disability element of his pension -- Rs 310 per month - with effect from 2004 for life. He made several representations for increase in disability pension but without any result and finally approached the Tribunal.  Pension authorities have submitted before the Tribunal that Sharma’s revised pension payment order was issued on November 23, 2011. The Tribunal, while expressing its ire over the attitude of the authorities and the manner in which the case was handled, observed that the departments concerned had been making Sharma run from pillar to post and ordered that he be adequately compensated for this reckless delay.  Testing times  1972: Jai Bhagwan Sharma suffers a head injury after a high-pressure steam pipe bursts in the engine room of his ship  1973: Sharma boarded out of service on medical grounds, granted disability pension  June 2001: Sharma discovers that payment of disability element of his pension discontinued in 1975  November 23, 2011: After a protracted legal battle, Armed Forces Tribunal orders Sharma be paid pension from 1975 with 12% interest
India denies NATO Missile Defence and F-35 offers  Read more:
Indian Defence Minister AK Antony has denied that India has been offered to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Missile defence programme and the United States has offered partnership in the development of the world’s most advanced fighter plane, F-35 joint strike fighter. Defence Minister AK Antony was replying to separate written questions in the upper house (Rajya Sabha) today.  In 2007, Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh had said that there was no offer from the United States for transfer of high technology weaponry including its 5th generation joint Strike Fighter F-35. The same year AK Antony has said that US government has not proposed to provide a fifth generation fighter F-35 aircraft to India. This lays rest to the speculation, which had been rife on the offer of F-35 jets to India after US lost its bid for the IAF’s MMRCA tenders. Both the Lockheed martin F-16 and Boeing F-18 jets were rejected on technical grounds after stringent evaluations. India has also teamed with Russia to build the Fifth Generation fighter Aircraft (FGFA).  The NATO Missile defence programme offer has been rubbished as India is already developing its own Ballistic Missile Defence systems. There is a speculation that the US led NATO had asked for basing a radar on the Indian territory, which could close some gaps in NATO Missile defence Shield with respect to Chinese airspace.  Read more:
Military daredevilry to the fore in Kannur
KANNUR: It was nothing less than a festival here on Saturday, as the Indian army personnel mesmerized the viewers with their daring performances, on the ground and in the sky as part of the Army Mela, even as the young and old, from world war veterans to toddlers, remained glued to their seats at the Jawahar Municipal Stadium here.  The shows began with the flypast by three helicopters of the Indian Coast Guard followed by three Dornier aircraft, which saluted the honourable guests, including defence minister A K Antony, from above the skies. And what followed was a stunning sky diving performance by a six-member team of the Indian Army.  The dog show controlled by a team of cadets of the Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre and School, Meerut, was another spotlight as the trained canines literally danced to the tunes of their masters.  The horse show by the Army Service Corps, Bangalore, overwhelmed the audience with the daredevilry of the army personnel.  And that daredevilry was further established when the Indian Army's 'Dare Devil' motorcycle display team presented a breathtaking performance, which really stunned the audience.  Apart from this, there was an exhibition at the Police Ground, which showcased the power of the Indian defence forces.  The combat weapons on display, included light and medium field guns, Infantry Combat Vehicle, MBT Arjun Tank, T-90 S tank, which has the capacity to go deep into the water up to 5 metres depth, and the missile fired by the main gun can go up to 5,000 metres.  The BrahMos missile, a stealth supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarines, ships, aircraft or land, was another attraction of the fair. Besides this, the survey equipment Total Station, Laser Ranger Finder, various improvised explosive Devices (IED) and nuclear biological and chemical warfare suit, artillery guns, bridging equipment and bomb disposal suits displayed attracted the viewers, especially students, who thronged in hundreds at the exhibition venue.  Also, there were stalls to brief the students about the prospects of joining the defence forces, and the recruitment procedures to be followed to join the services.  The mela was formally inaugurated in the morning by major general A K Pradhan, general officer Commanding Karnataka and Kerala sub Area.  Defence minister A K Antony, who was the chief guest, said the defence department is committed to the welfare of the ex-servicemen and it will do all the possible things to take care of their welfare. He also said India is strengthening its defence forces for the security of the nation and not to attack any country. "But we are committed to preserve every inch of land that we have, and no country would be allowed to intrude into our territory," he asserted.  The minister also honoured the veterans who participated in the World War II, and their families and also distributed financial aid ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 12 lakh from the ministers discretionary fund. Also mobility scooters were distributed to those soldiers who got disabled in the military operations.
Honour, not tenure, Army chief pleads
Making a case that his date of birth was related to honour and not tenure, army chief General VK Singh has requested defence minister AK Antony that a statutory complaint in this regard be expedited and his case be re-examined on legal merit. The General insists that his date of birth is May 10, 1951 and not 1950, both of which exist in different departments of the army. The defence ministry has rejected his plea.  If Singh’s year of birth is accepted as 1951, he will retire on May 31, 2013, instead of 2012, as the case is now.  Top ministry sources said the army chief sent a polite letter to Antony this week stating that the age issue was all about his honour among the million-strong army officers and men and not whether he would get an extended tenure.  The ministry has got the age issue examined by the attorney general twice on the grounds that whether the change in the year of birth from 1950 to 1951 would alter succession plans in the Indian Army.  The law ministry earlier, in a reply to an RTI query, ruled that Singh was born in 1951. However, on July 22, 2011, the defence ministry ruled that the year of birth was 1950.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is believed to have kept himself in the loop with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, engaging Gen Singh last month to amicably resolve the matter.  Gen Singh feels he’d be called a liar by his men if the government forces 1950 year of birth on him. Even though statutory complaints are normally disposed of within 90 days, Antony feels the mandatory period is only binding on the Army Headquarters and not on the defence minister.  The statutory complaint is still being processed by the law ministry and the defence secretary’s office.
Maoist guerilla army targeting security forces
NEW DELHI: PLGA (People's Liberation Guerilla Army), which is celebrating its 11th anniversary from December 2, has called for intensifying its war against the state, essentially against the security forces, including the Indian Army, implying that the Red ultras would scale up their violent strikes.  Besides, Dandakaranya, where CPI (Maoist) has a free run, the PLGA has called for turning Bihar-Jharkhand into a "liberated zone". With joint forces focusing on West Bengal, Maoists are concentrating on Jharkhand and Bihar, where the heat on them is comparatively less.  "Let us develop PLGA into PLA and guerilla warfare into mobile warfare with the aim of developing Dandakaranya and Bihar-Jharkhand into liberated areas." the statement issued by comrade Deoji, member of the party's Central Military Commission (CMC), exhorted.  Calling out to people, especially tribals and dalits and all oppressed classes, to join the armed movement, the PLGA statement, dated November 20, criticized activist Anna Hazare and his team members for starting a non-violent struggle of the masses. "In order to divert the militant struggles of the people, NGOs run with the guidance of imperialists and those under the leadership of persons like Anna Hazare are bringing forth struggle forms like hunger strikes in the name of non-violence."  Maoists are worried over shrinking popular support, thanks to Team Anna's popularity.  "On December 2, PLGA completes 11 years. On this occasion, CMC is giving a call to celebrate the anniversary in all our guerilla zones and red resistance areas with the determination to defeat Operation Green Hunt (OGH)... In the People's War... nearly 150 best daughters and sons of the soil and ordinary people have laid down their lives since December 2010 to September 2011," claimed the outfit.  The statement declared, "As a consequence of distorted development... the impact of the world economic crisis is severe on our country too. Increase in corruption, unemployment, price rise, poverty and displacement, living conditions of the oppressed working class, peasant and middle class people became unbearable... Material conditions are ripening for revolution. Strikes and agitations of all sections of people are increasing. Economic struggles are turning into political struggles..."  Identifying some areas, where people's protest is on, the statement named "struggles like Lalgarh, Kalinganagar, Narayanapatna, anti-Posco, Niayamagiri, Mali, Deomali, Singareni, Open casts, Polavaram, Sompeta, Kakarapalli, Jaitapur and Greater Noida, Telangana, Kashmir..."  It urged people to join them. "Play your role in isolating and defeating the enemy! Join the PLGA...Integrate with the deluge of mass movements rising in several areas in our country... There can be no fundamental change without completely destroying the exploiting classes...Let us teach a lesson to the mercenary Indian Army which loots, repress and suppress the toiling masses by intensifying our glorious People's War," it added.
Growing Chinese influence in Indian Ocean no threat:Lankan army chief
DEHRA DUN: Visiting Sri Lankan army chief Lt Gen Jagath Jayasuriya today said though China's influence in the Indian Ocean is growing, it is not posing any threat to the Indian sub-continent.  "There is no threat to any country in the Indian sub-continent from the growing influence of China in the waters of Indian Ocean. It is a wrong belief", Jayasuriya told reporters after reviewing the Passing Out Parade (POP) at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) here.  Regarding India, he said military cooperation between India and Sri Lanka is increasing and armies of the two countries are cooperating with each other in several areas including the field of training.  In this regard, he pointed out that 120 Sri Lankan officers have so far received training in the IMA. He said he also plans to meet Chief of Army Staff Gen V K Singh during his current visit.  On LTTE, Jayasuriya said LTTE in Sri Lanka has been compeletely decimated but admitted its symphathisers do exist in other countries.  "LTTE has been decimated militarily but they do have symphathisers in international diaspora", he said. However, he said it is no more a military threat.  Asked about Tamilians uprooted from the island nation during Sri Lankan army's operation against LTTE, the Sri Lankan army chief said the situation has now become "normal" and people have started coming back to their places.  The Sri Lankan government is also undertaking rehabilitation work in affected areas, he added.
Pune auto driver’s son picks his Lieutenant rank today
Krishnant Gholap (22), a Pune autorickshaw driver’s son, will be commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Indian Army at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), Dehradun on Saturday.  Krishnant, an alumnus of the National Defence Academy (NDA), passed out with a BSc degree from the premier academy last year. Krishnant will be joining an infantry regiment on January 1, 2012.  Speaking to DNA from Dehradun on Friday morning, Krishnant said, “I am extremely happy today. My four-year dream of becoming an army officer is coming true. It has been an interesting journey.’’  Krishnant’s parents, Chandrakant and Shubhangi, who were enroute Dehradun on Friday, spoke to DNA over the telephone.  The Nana Peth-based Chandrakant, who has been driving an autorickshaw for a living for the last 28 years said, “This is the proudest moment of my life. To be able to witness a passing out parade where my only son will be commissioned as an army officer is a dream come true.”  Shubhangi, who runs a small tailoring unit from their home, sounded very happy. “I am just waiting to reach Dehradun to see my son. Khup anand hot aahe. Tyaani aamchi iccha purna keli (I am very happy. Our son has made our wish come true),” she said.  Krishnant completed standard X from the New English School, Ramanbaug, and standard XII from Poona College in Nana Peth.

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