Tribune News Service - Bathinda, July 8
Traffic on the Bathinda-Chandigarh highway was hit as ex-servicemen today blocked the highway outside the cantonment area here demanding the implementation of the ‘one rank, one pension’ (OROP) policy. The highway remained closed for more than two hours.
As the number of stranded vehicles increased, the district administration diverted these from Bucho towards Nathana and other villages.Around 2,000 ex-servicemen from across the state participated in the protest.On seeing the large number of protesters, Army officials closed all gates leading to the cantonment.
Carrying placards and wearing black badges, ex-servicemen raised slogans against the Modi government and its Finance and Defence Ministers for not implementing the scheme. At 10 am, a large number of ex-servicemen gathered outside the cantonment police station.Some protesters held a march from the Sub-Area gate to the Corps HQ gate. As the gate was closed, these protesters had to sit in Chetak Park.
The large number of ex-servicemen who remained at the Sub-Area gate blocked the Bathinda-Chandigarh highway stating that a senior Army official should come and take their memorandum.
Seeing the situation had become tense, SP City Desraj and Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Damanjit Singh Mann reached the spot and requested the protesters to clear the highway, but the ex-servicemen stayed put for more than two hours.Then, the SDM talked with Army officials and took a few protesters, who were sitting at Chetak Park, to Army officials. Only when the protesters handed over the memorandum to them was the protest called off.
Brigadier Indermohan Singh (retd), president, Indian Ex-Services League, Punjab, said, “OROP has been a long-standing demand of ex-servicemen and relates to payment of uniform pension to defence forces personnel retiring in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.” He apologised to the commuters who had to face harassment today due to road blockage.
He warned that veterans would not rest until the government implemented OROP and that the protest would be intensified in the coming days.
Commuters irked as EX-SM block highway
Sukhmeet Bhasin - Tribune News Service -Bathinda, July 8
|Police personnel disperse the protesting ex-servicemen to make way for vehicles stuck in the traffic jam caused after the protesters sat on the Bathinda-Chandigarh highway|
|Commuters argue with the protesters in Bathinda on Wednesday. Tribune photos: Pawan sharma|
|Commuters argue with the agitating ex-servicemen who had blocked traffic in the Cantonment area on Wednesday. Tribune photos: pawan sharma|
Vehicle movement was brought to a standstill on the Bathinda-Chandigarh national highway for about over two hours this morning when ex-servicemen resorted to a blockade outside the cantonment area over the delay in the implementation of One Rank, One Pension (OROP).
The ex-servicemen gathered on the road at 10am, blocking traffic on both sides of the road. The protest was lifted only at 1 am after they submitted a memorandum to Army officials. Commuters had to face hardships due to the protest.
Long queues of vehicles was witnessed on both sides of the highway. Unable to move ahead or backwards, trucks, cars, buses, two-wheelers and other vehicles found themselves stuck on the road. Commuters carrying their luggage on foot blamed the district administration and the police for not making alternate arrangements.
Poilce and district administration officials present at the spot expressed their helplessness in removing controlling the agitators. Some of the commuters entered into heated arguments with the agitators for harassing them by blocking the road. Gurjot Kaur, a resident of Bucho, said today that she had to join the office in the city as it was her first day in the office, but she was struck in the traffic jam due to the protest.
She said the district administration had announced that all protests must be held at the Transport Nagar located on the outskirts of the city, but both district and the police administration failed miserably in restricting the protesters from holding demonstrations in the city and causing inconvenience to the public.
Harish Garg said he walked two kilometers with my son to reach the Bibiwala road. There are many passengers who were still sitting in buses. He said the administration should divert the traffic fast so that they did not struck in the jam.
Sandeep Singh, a resident of Barnala, said he had some work in court and had to reach there at 11am, but due to the jam he was not able to reach the court on time.
He claimed that protesters should think of the public before blocking the roads and harassing them. Their demands were genuine but what would happen by blocking the road. Cantonment police station, SHO, Harpreet Singh, said they had diverted the traffic from Bucho and through Gobidnpura village, but police were not aware that they would block the road as they had plan to take out a protest march and submit a memorandum.
Veterans lay siege to highway in Bathinda; over 150 booked
PROTESTERS SIT ON DHARNA, BLOCKING THE BATHINDA-CHANDIGARH ROAD FOR OVER THREE HOURS, RESULTING IN TRAFFIC CHAOS
BATHINDA: Pressing for immediate implementation of ‘one rank one pension’ (OROP) scheme, hundreds of ex-servicemen on Wednesday blocked the busy Bathinda- Chandigarh highway.
EX-SERVICEMEN ON WARPATH
|Ex-servicemen taking out a protest march in Bathinda on Wednesday.|
(SOURCE- SANJHA MORCHA)