Can’t negotiate as government is confused: Ex-servicemen

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) Ex-servicemen seeking the immediate implementation of the OROP scheme said on Thursday they can’t talk to the government as it appeared to be confused.

“How do we negotiate when the government does not say what it is willing to offer?” asked Captain Anil Kaul at the Jantar Mantar protest site where retired soldiers are on hunger strike.

Added Group Captain V.K. Gandhi (retired): “There is no one statement from the government… One person says one thing today, another person another thing. They keep shifting the goalpost.”

Both denied there were divisions among senior officers and Junior Commissioned Officers on the issue of One Rank One Pension, which has led to an unprecedented face-off between ex-servicemen and the government.

The officers underlined that the retired soldiers were not making any special demands and that no bonanza was on offer in the name of pension.

“We are not asking for any three percent increment. There is no such thing as increment,” Captain Kaul said.

“What we have asked for is a periodic review of pension so that at no stage the definition of OROP as accepted by parliament is violated even by a letter.”

He said the expenditure that would accrue to the government by implementing the OROP had been vetted by different layers, including the defence minister.

He said varying figures of supposed government expenditure were being floated “by people who do not know what they are talking about”.

Thursday is the 81st day of protest by ex-sevicemen in the national capital. Thirteen retired soldiers are on indefinite hunger strike. Relay hunger strikes are taking place in some 60 towns and cities.

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