Sainik Welfare officer ran petrol pump meant for ex-servicemen

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In what can raise questions over the functioning of the Department of Sainik Welfare (DSW) of the state government, a deputy director level officer in the department allegedly ran a petrol pump under a scheme by the Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR), for over three years, an instance of dual employment. The scheme is meant for ex-servicemen who are not employed and DSW is ideally the facilitator that offers such schemes to ex-servicemen.

An official of the department himself availing benefits of the scheme, that too while already employed, is in gross violation of the norms. The pump was relinquished last month.

Company Owned Company Operated (COCO) petrol pumps is a scheme by DGR under which retired services personnel are appointed dealers of allotted petrol pumps. The officer interested in availing such dealership should have a recommendation from the Zilla Sainik Welfare Officer (ZSWO) of the district concerned. An affidavit declaring that the applicant is not dually employed is also required. Interestingly, Col (retd) Ratansinh Naikwade secured the dealership of the petrol pump at Bargha village in Bhiwandi taluka in Thane in 2009, when he himself was the ZSWO of Satara district.

While this move — of an officer availing of the benefit — has raised eyebrows in the department, the higher authorities have allegedly never taken serious note of complaints on the issue. In 2010, the officer took over as deputy director, resettlement, an appointment right under the director, DSW. Thus, between 2009 and last month, when Naikwade surrendered the petrol pump to BPCL, the officer was dually employed. Under COCO, the dealer receives a monthly income of Rs 25,000. In this case, the officer has been drawing this income in addition to his salary which, as per the DSW website, is Rs 61,000 a month.

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