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OROP row: Veterans accuse Govt of ‘shifting goalpost’

New Delhi :Deadlock over ‘One rank One Pension’ (OROP) persisted today with agitating ex-servicemen accusing the government of “constantly shifting goalpost” and not coming out with any “concrete proposal” to resolve the issue.

Some sections in the government were also giving misleading figures about financial ramifications in
implementing the scheme, they alleged.

Asked what would be their reaction if the governmentunilaterally announces OROP as per its own conditions, Anil Kaul, media adviser to the United Front of Ex-Servicemen, said, “We will not accept it if it is against the agreed definition of OROP.’

The agitating ex-servicemen and the government appeared to have ironed out some major differences over the contentious issue of one rank one pension with the defence veterans saying tonight that they may accept revision of pension once in two years instead of one year as demanded by them.

War veteran Maj Gen (retd) Satbir Singh, who has been leading the protest in Jantar Mantar for the last 80 days, said they have got positive signals from the government for the last few days but stopped short of saying there was a breakthrough.

Singh said the issue was non-negotiable and both the elements of the OROPO concept cannot be interfered. An agreement can be reached once we know what is on the platter (offer by the government), he said, adding effective date of revision must be from April 1, 2014.

Independent MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, who has been mediating on the issue, said it was time veterans must return home with honour and grace by reaching an early settlement.

He urged them to accept the revision of pension every three years.

Meanwhile, not in the best of health yet undeterred, Colonel (retd) Pushpendra Singh today resumed his fast-unto-death demanding prompt implementation of One Rank, One Pension scheme at Jantar Mantar here hours after he was discharged from an army hospital.

Singh, one of the ex-servicemen fasting in demand of the immediate implementation of the OROP scheme, was hospitalised Monday last the ninth day of his fast after his medical report showed increased ketone levels.

Singh was admitted to the ICU of Army Hospital Research and Referral, from where he was discharged today.

Hours later, he returned to the protest site to join his fellow ex-servicemen, whose agitation entered the 80th day today.