War widows and family members of 1962, 1965 and 1971 war martyrs today rejected Rs 50 lakh special grant-in-aid announced by Punjab government and refused to call off their protest. They continued to stage protest in front of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's official residence, seeking financial compensation meant for the families of martyred soldiers. "We reject the special grant-in-aid announced by the government today. We want compensation which we have been demanding for last several months," Gurmeet Singh, son of a 1971 war widow Shinder Kaur, said. "We will continue with our protest till our demands are met," Singh, who was speaking on the behalf of protesting families and war widows, said. Several war widows and their family members have been staging protest in front of Badal's residence here since September 27. They have been demanding financial compensation in lieu of 10 acres of land which was announced in 1975.
They said that the state government had told them they could not give land instead assured that the cash compensation would be given. Badal today announced a special grant-in-aid of Rs 50 lakh to be given to the war widows or their legal heirs, of the valiant soldiers who had laid down their lives in the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars and 1962 Indo-China war. A spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office said a policy had been announced way back in 1975 and over 1,500 war-widows who had applied in time had been allotted up to 10 acres of agricultural land or cash equivalent in lieu of land at the rate notified from time to time. However, there were nearly 100 cases in which the applicants, for one reason or another, failed to apply within the stipulated cut-off date. Above 100 such cases had applied till the extended cut-off date January 4, 2010. The spokesperson said the residual agricultural land earmarked for allotment was either locked up in litigation or in unauthorized possession, which rendered it practically impossible for the war widow allottees to take over possession of the land. Therefore, keeping in view the demands of war-widows and their representatives, the state government had decided to honour the remaining duly verified and deserving cases of war widows with the cash grant. It was clarified that as in the scheme notified before, the residual land owned by the war-widow would be taken into account on proportionate basis in calculation of the cash-grant. The grant would be payable in three half yearly installments of Rs 20 lakh, Rs 15 lakh and Rs 15 lakh respectively. Formal Gazette notification would be issued soon after obtaining the approval of the Council of Ministers and the cash-grant would be disbursed through the Directorate of Sainik Welfare in their ancestral towns and villages etc so as to prevent any inconvenience to the war-widows, the spokesman added.
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