Veterans not to escalate OROP protest for 10 days

Decision comes after PMO intervention
Last Updated 18 August 2015, 20:12 IST

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) approached Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag for an ice-breaking meeting between Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra and ex-servicemen agitating in the implementation of the One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme.

After the meeting, which took place on Tuesday, the ex-servicemen agreed not to escalate the agitation for the next 10 days, during which Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar would have another round of discussions with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a solution to the impasse.

Parrikar had told a delegation of ex-servicemen last week to postpone the fast-unto-death programme till August 24 as he would meet the prime minister on August 23 to discuss the issue.

On Independence Day, Modi had said the NDA government had accepted OROP in principle, and the nitty-gritties of its implementation are being discussed. As yet another retired Army man, Havildar Ashok Chouhan, started hunger strike, the PMO reached out to the Army chief to organise a meeting between them and Misra, said sources.

“We met Nripendra Misra in the morning. He stressed that normalcy should be restored. Asked what he meant by that, he said the fast unto death should be called off. We told him if there was concrete assurance, we would stop it,” said Lt Gen (retd) Balbir Singh, president of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement.

He was accompanied by Maj Gen Satbir Singh in the morning meeting that lasted for an hour.

Soon after the meeting, a senior Delhi Police officer publicly apologised for manhandling the protesters on the eve of Independence Day.

The ex-servicemen conveyed to the PMO official they would wait for 10 more days, as asked by the defence minister. But no dilution would be allowed in the definition of OROP and the date of effect should be April 1, 2014.

OROP is defined by the Bhagat Singh Koshiyari committee's 2011 report as equal pay for the same rank in the same length of service, irrespective of the date of retirement.

(Published 18 August 2015, 20:12 IST)

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