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CM ANNOUNCES TO START EX-GRATIA GRANT FOR THE ARMED FORCES PERSONNEL IN CASES OF PHYSICAL CASUALTY


Amritsar: As a mark of respect to the brave soldiers of the country, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday announced to start ex-gratia grant for the Armed forces personnel in cases of physical casualty during service along with doubling the ex-gratia of physically disabled soldiers and hiking the financial assistance of non pensioner ex-servicemen of World War I and II.

The Chief Minister led the state in paying homage to Kargil Martyrs, who laid down their lives for safeguarding the borders of the country, in a function to mark Kargil Vijay Diwas here at Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and museum.

Addressing the gathering after paying homage to the war heroes, the Chief Minister said that recognizing the immense contribution of soldiers, the state government has now decided to start ex-gratia worth Rs 25 lakh to Physical Casualty cases in the Armed forces. He said that, earlier, there was no such provision but his government has taken this initiative as these valiant warriors also sacrifice their lives during call of duty. Likewise, Bhagwant Mann said that ex-gratia for the physically disabled soldiers have also been enhanced by the state government.

The Chief Minister said that soldiers with 76% to 100% disability will now get Rs 40 lakh ex-gratia instead of Rs 20 lakh, soldiers with 51%-75% disability will now get Rs 20 lakh instead of existing Rs 10 lakh and those with 25% -50% disability will now get Rs 10 lakh ex-gratia instead of Rs 5 lakh. Likewise, he said that the monthly financial assistance of non pensioner ex-servicemen of World War I and II or their widows has been enhanced from existing Rs 6000 to Rs 10000. Bhagwant Mann said that the state government is duty bound to secure the interests of these brave soldiers who had served the country selflessly.

The Chief Minister further said that this is an emotive function and the entire country feels proud of the supreme sacrifice made by these valiant sons. He said that the soldiers perform their duty despite the vagaries of weather to ensure that the borders of the country are safeguarded. Bhagwant Mann said that the countrymen will ever remain indebted to these national heroes for their bravery and selfless service to the nation.

The Chief Minister said that after assuming the charge of office his government has decided to give Rs 1 crore to the distressed families as a mark of respect for the supreme sacrifice made by these heroes for the country. He said that this humble initiative of the state government is in recognition of the immense contribution of these sons of soil towards preserving the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the country. Bhagwant Mann said that financial assistance to these families of martyrs is in consonance with the commitment of the state government to ensure the well being of the soldiers and their families.

The Chief Minister recalled that during the Kargil War he was an artist and to express solidarity with these national heroes they had organized a charity show. He said that the charity show was held at Patiala in which a number of other artists also took part. Bhagwant Mann said that all the collections from the show were handed over to the Army authorities as a token of gratitude towards their heroic deeds.

The Chief Minister said that as a colony of the British Empire, our country had suffered a lot but the brave and determined heroes of our freedom struggle made enormous sacrifices to remove the shackles of foreign imperialism. He said that it is on record that more than 90% of the great patriots who laid down their lives or were subjected to British tyranny in one form or other were Punjabis. Bhagwant Mann said that a string of gems like Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh and several others, shed their blood to achieve freedom for us.

The Chief Minister asserted that even today Punjabis are at forefront to protect the borders of the country. He said that Punjabis led the nation from the front whenever India faced any challenge from internal or external aggression. It is a known fact that the hard working and resilient farmers of the state have played a crucial role in making the country self-reliant in food production, Bhagwant Mann added.

The Chief Minister recalled the heroic deeds of the brave soldiers of the country in defending the borders of the country. He said that the exemplary courage shown by the Indian Army in this war despite hostile conditions, hardly finds any parallel across the globe. Bhagwant Mann said that every countryman would ever remain indebted to these martyrs for their supreme sacrifice.

The Chief Minister said that Amar Jawan Jyoti is lit not by the oil but the blood of martyrs. He said that the lamp lit by burning oil may stop giving the light after some time but the lamp burned by the oil of martyrs shine forever. Bhagwant Mann said that the martyrdom of these soldiers inspire the generations for selfless sacrifice till ages.

In his address, the Cabinet Minister Chetan Singh Jaurmajra welcomed all the dignitaries to the event and paid homage to the Kargil heroes.

Earlier, the Chief Minister laid down the wreath in the memory of the martyrs to pay respect for the great sacrifice made by these sons-of the soil for their motherland. He also felicitated the family members of the martyrs who had come all the way from their homes to specially attend this function to commemorate the supreme sacrifice by these heroes at the prime of their age.

On the occasion Cabinet Ministers Chetan Singh Jourmajra, Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal and Harbhajan Singh ETO besides others.

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