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Monday, April 21, 2008

WW II Veteran gets pension after 59 years

Ex-Gunner Bachan Singh, an Arty vet of the Second Great War living in extreme penury, was given a bad deal by us. He got injured in North Africa, treated in a Military Hospital in Cairo during WWII and was medically boarded out in 1947. He was granted disability pension which was abruptly discontinued by the CDA in 1949 while holding that his disability had gone below 20%, this despite the fact that a duly constituted medical board by the Army had confirmed a disability of 30%. His pleas for a resurvey medical board fell on deaf ears. However, with the help of our ex-Vice Chief, Gen Pattabhiraman (then GOC-in-C WC), his case was taken up with the PCDA(P) as well as the Govt for re-consideration. A thorough medical examination of this 90 year old soldier was carried out in 2005 at Command Hospital Western Command and the board opined that the disability was such which could not have improved in any manner, and that it had remained constant / static all these years since 1949. Our persistence and Gen Pattabhiraman’s help has resulted in the sanctioning of his disability pension with arrears with effect from 1949, a historical landmark, and something which goes to show that the govt is not all that insensitive as it is projected to be. Of course the arrears are not much since till 1986, disability pension was granted only to the tune of Rs 40/- , but still the spirit behind the gesture is symbolic, and the old fauji has something to look forward to, and a reason to thank olive green and some great souls like our ex-Vice Chief, who ensured that he got his dues 6 decades after he was released.

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