Friday, Oct 31, 2014

25 years on, gallantry award recipient awaits land he was entitled to

Captain Vishnu Singh. Colaba resident Captain Vishnu Singh.
Written by Kalpana Verma | Mumbai | Posted: March 27, 2014 1:10 am | Updated: March 27, 2014 2:51 am

Though a state government resolution (GR) issued in 1971 entitles gallantry award recipients to agricultural land or a house from the government quota, Colaba resident Captain Vishnu Singh, 71, has been waiting for 25 years for land in Alibaug he applied for.

In 1987, Singh was awarded the Nausena Medal, a gallantry award for servicemen in the Indian Navy, by the President of India for averting a massive naval disaster. In August 1989, during Sharad Pawar’s tenure as Chief Minister, he put in an application for 10 acres of agricultural land.

As per the GR (LND/1071/275810/A-2) dated December 30, 1971, gallantry award recipients were entitled to receive agricultural land, a house from the government quota, and/or cash in recognition of their achievements.

“More than the denial of land or reward by the state government, it is the the cold shoulder that I got from the politicians and the bureaucrats that disheartened me,” Captain Singh said.

Singh sought voluntary retirement in 1991 with the intention of settling down as a farmer on the land he hoped to receive from the state government.

In July 1990, the land was identified in Akshi village of Alibaug by the collector, Raigad. As advised by the collector and tehsildar, Singh applied and obtained no-objection certificates from various government authorities. The certificates were received by the Raigad collector’s office by October 1991.

The entire file, prepared by the collector, with his recommendations for the allotment of the land, was sent to the division commissioner of Konkan Division on November 9, 1991. Thereafter, it was learned from the office of the commissioner that the file was sent to the department of revenue, recommended by the commissioner. However, Singh did not hear from any government department thereafter.

Singh made efforts to meet various authorities, including subsequent chief ministers — Sushilkumar Shinde, Vilasrao Deshmukh and Ashok Chavan, but failed to get an audience. He continued to write to subsequent CMs and collectors, but to no avail. Even reminders sent by the City Sainik Welfare Officer, Mumbai, to the collector of Alibaug did not yield any response.

“On several occasions, the then collectors demanded the same documents that had been submitted to the collector’s office in 1991. Still, the documents were promptly sent whenever they asked,” said Singh.

Sumant Namdeorao Bhange, district collector of Raigad, said, “According to the resident deputy collector from the land grant section, the earlier file was missing. When Singh was asked to provide the documents again in 2010, he did not submit them. However, we will look into the matter again.”

kalpana.verma@expressindia.com

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