Capt Amarinder Singh plays politics over grant-in-Aid to 1971 war widows

War Widows Reject Grant in Aid

Chandigarh: Several widows and their family members of martyrs of the 1971, and earlier wars in 1962 and 1965, have been staging a protest in front of Prakash Singh Badal’s residence here since September 27.

They rejected the Rs 50 lakhs grant in aid announced recently by the Punjab Government, while refusing to call off their protest outside the Chief Minister’s residence. Sensing Political opportunity, PPCC chief Capt Amarinder Singh assured to take up their issue with the Union Defence Minister. But Captain Amarinder Singh did not take any decision himself when he was Punjab’s Chief Minister before Parkash Singh badal.

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“It is very embarrassing. The government should either give 10 acres or pay the money,” said Amarinder Singh, who was joined by party leaders Sunil Jakhar and Ravneet Bittu. Earlier, a spokesperson for the CM’s office stated that under the 1975 policy, over 1,500 war widows, who had applied in time, were allotted up to 10 acres of agricultural land or equivalent cash.

“Is this the way to treat the families of martyrs?” asked Baljinder Kaur of Chamba Kalan, whose father, Sepoy Balwinder Singh, died in the 1971 war.

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However, there were nearly 100 cases in which the applicants failed to apply within the stipulated period. About 100 such cases had applied till the extended cut off date of January 4,2010.

” We want the compensation which we have been demanding for the past several months,” said Gurmeet Singh, son of 1971 war widow Shinder Kaur. “We will continue with our protest till our demands are met,” said Gurmeet, who was speaking on behalf of protesting families and war widows.

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The spokesperson added that the residual agricultural land available for allotment was either locked up in litigation or in unauthorised possession, which rendered it practically impossible for the war widow allottees to take over possession of the land.