As most would be knowing on this forum, the Indian Railways offer free Complimentary passes (AC-II) with unlimited usage facility to gallantry awardees plus one companion. These passes are available from Article No 2 (Param Vir Chakra) of Gazette of India Notification No 75-Pres/2001 issued by the President’s Secretariat till Article 24 (Police Medal for Gallantry). So far so good. But what is not good is the fact that the awards of Sena Medal / Nao Sena Medal / Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry) which appear on Article 22 are mysteriously missing from the list. Hence in effect, a police officer awarded the PMG which on Article 24 is lower than SM/NM/VM (Gallantry) is entitled to a Complimentary pass while the same benefit is not available to a higher defence gallantry decoration appearing on Article 22.
Oversight some may say. Well I would like to believe that. But an officer recently informed me that the reason put forth by the Railways is ‘financial constraints’ since the list of SM/NM/VM (G) is quite humungous. However a little research would reveal that PMG awardees are far more in number than SM/NM/VM (G) combined. To take a recent example, on 15 Aug 2008, the number of defence personnel awarded SM/NM/VM (G) was 95 while 157 police personnel were awarded PMG. While I would be taking this up officially very soon, maybe it is time for us to look towards Lalloojee for resolution of this uhmm oversight !