Equal work, not pay: Central paramilitary personnel to march to Parliament in protest

Tired of waiting for the government to fulfill its promise of bringing serving officers and ex-servicement of the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) on par with the Defence forces, CPMF personnel will go on a protest march to draw the attention of the government to their plight.

More than a lakh ex-servicemen and serving officers of the paramilitary and their families will march to the Parliament on February 18. They also plan to block every road leading to the Parliament from February 19 till their demands are met. The protest is led by the All India Central Para-Military Forces Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association.

Prior to this, the association had approached the government repeatedly requesting for the same benefits as the Defence forces, but their demands were ignored.

The association's general secretary, P S Nair said, "Despite declaring that the Central Paramilitary Forces are part of the 'Armed Forces of the Union of India', which means its personnel fall under the category of 'ex-servicemen' after retirement, the government has not given them their due status or benefits. Even the Sixth Pay Commission did not do justice and gave us benefits meant for civilian employees".

The association comprising officers of the Central Paramilitary Forces the Border Security Force (BSF), the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Indian Tibet Border Police (ITBP), the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the National Security Guards (NSG), the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) and Assam Rifles have listed 23 demands they want the government to fulfill.

The main demands include their inclusion in the Pay Commission category meant for the armed forces, ex-armed forces personnel status, Ardh Sainik Kalyan Boards similar to the Kendriya/Rajya/Zila Sainik boards, CSD canteen facilities, compassionate appointment, allowances, pensions, service benefits and post-retirement benefits as given to Defence personnel.

"Paramilitary forces are assigned the task of guarding almost the entire 9000 sq km international border, maintaining internal security, including VVIP security, industrial organisations and provide aid to civil authorities whenever needed. Our responsibilities are no different from the Army," said Nair. He said that this time they have chosen a 'stronger' method to demand their rights because last year when they told government that they would march to the Parliament, they were promised all benefits.

The strength of the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) is about 8.5 lakh and that of ex-servicemen is around 5 lakh. As per the statistics made available by the Home Ministry, more than 7,000 CPMF officers were killed in action and around 4,000 sustained serious injuries in the last five years. These figures are much higher than what the army suffered in the corresponding period.

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