Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Friday announced special grants-in-aid of Rs 50 lakh each to war widows or other legal heirs of defence force personnel who died in the wars with China and Pakistan in 1962, 1965 and 1971.
The announcement comes after many families of martyrs refused to end their agitation over the demand for 10 acres of land each from the Punjab government. Families who failed to get the land demanded they be given land or compensation at the present collector rate.
"The grant is a major goodwill gesture and an expression of honour and gratitude to the valiant soldiers who laid down their lives in the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan wars and the 1962 India-China war," a spokesperson of the Chief Minister`s Office here said.
The grant will be payable in three half-yearly instalments of Rs 20 lakh, Rs 15 lakh and Rs 15 lakh.
Under the state government policy, families of such defence personnel were entitled to 10 acres or cash compensation.
"The policy had been announced way back in 1975 and over 1,500 war widows who applied in time were allotted up to 10 acres of rural agricultural land or cash. However, there were nearly 100 cases in which the applicants, for one reason or the other, failed to apply before the cut-off date. Intended beneficiaries in such cases applied by the extended cut-off date of January 4, 2010," the spokesperson said.
The Punjab government recently decided to give cash compensation but it was rejected by the families since the amount was calculated at the rates prevalent in the mid-1970s. It came to around Rs 20 lakh per family.
The residual agricultural land available for allotment is either locked up in litigation or in unauthorised possession, which rendered it practically impossible for the war widow allottees to take possession of.
Keeping in view the demands of the 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," the spokesperson said.