Military widows struggle for jobs in Himachal

PALAMPUR: Widows and aged parents of the soldiers killed in Jammu and Kashmir while fighting with militants have been moving from pillar to post in the state to get jobs and other financial assistance from the state government but has failed to move the stone hearted bureaucracy. The only excuse before the government is that “rules do not permit” any job to the widows or family members of defense personals in state. Even the chief ministers and ministers are helpless before the bureaucracy.

It may be recalled that Kangra, Hamirpur and Mandi districts of the state have the highest number of causalities in proxy war going on in J&K. These district of the state have been receiving average one dead body of jawans daily, being killed while fighting with the militants in Jammu and Kashmir.

It may be recalled that most of jawans killed in Jammu and Kashmir were below the age of 30 years, who had left behind young widows, small children and aged parents. They were sole earning members in the family. Despite repeated requests from various organizations, panchyats and social bodies the state government had failed to form any policy to help these families of martyrs. They have been left at the mercy of union government.

Enquiries made revealed that there were no provisions in the state recruitment rules for any job in the state to the widows or family members of the soldiers killed in Jammu& Kashmir and northern east states. The state has no such policy at present to rehabilitate such widows or their family members. A senior officer of the state government says it was the responsibility of the union government or ministry of defense to provide them jobs.

Most of the cases the union government has already sanctioned family pensions to the widows and they were drawing the last salary drawn by their late husbands. But there are some widows who have been receiving meager pension because of short service of their husbands or their family pensions was withhold because of some technical reasons. Such widows needed immediate attention of the state government.

There are instances where the family pensions are paid to the widows who have separated from the in-laws, but there is none to look after the aged parents of deceased soliders. Their son was sole earning member of the family; they have no other source of income today.

Despite the assurances given by the ministers, MLAs and other senior government officials at the time of cremations of such soldiers that state government would provide necessary financial assistance as wall as job to the one member of the family but after the cremations no officer of the state government turned to them.

There are dozens of such families in these districts who have been looking forward for government assistance. It is sad state of affairs that the family members of martyrs have been moving from one office to other but there is none to heal their wounds. Unfortunately there is no officer in the districts who could listen and solve the problems of the families of these martyrs and could sanction immediate financial grants to them.

Earlier Prem Kumar Dhumal government had issued specific directions to all the Deputy Commissioners in state to attend the cremations and visit the families of martyrs being killed in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country and sanction them immediate financial grants. But with the change of government in 2003, officers in districts are not bothered to help the familyies martyrs. Many times no government official is seen on the cremations of deceased soldiers.

A senior journalist from Palampur.

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