After discussions with the Defence Ministry failed, disabled members of the Tri Forces and Police demanding a pension upon reaching retirement age, occupied the road near the Fort Railway station saying that they would continue the protest until an acceptable offer was made.
Earlier yesterday the protesting military members marched from the road towards Galle Face Green from the Lotus Roundabout. They were then granted a meeting with Defence Ministry officials but the discussions were not successful.
The National War Heroes Solidarity Collective’s National Organiser Jayalal Nissanka told Daily FT that the disabled members of the Tri Forces and Police would only receive an allowance of Rs. 15,000-Rs. 28,000 upon reaching the retirement age, instead of a full pension.
“The Government has curtailed the disability allowance of these officers and has abolished the pension which they should get,” he said.
One Lane on Olcott Mawatha in front of Fort Railway Station blocked due to a protest carried out by disabled military and police personnel - Pic by Shehan Gunasekara
The disabled members of the Tri Forces staged a protest in June demanding a pension scheme, however no solution has been offered by the authorities, Nissanka claimed.
“The President said that we would get a solution within three months. Nothing has happened. The President may have told officials to address the issue but we are not sure if he is really aware of what is going on,” he claimed.
Highlighting the issued faced by disabled soldiers, Nissanka said that soldiers were not able to sustain themselves with the allowance the Defence Ministry was willing to pay them in place of a pension.
“If the soldier dies, the widow and children will not get anything. What happens to them?” Nissanka asked.
Last week President Sirisena, speaking at the Gallantry Awards Ceremony, announced that the Government had made a decision to pay their monthly salary after retirement. The decision was to be included in the upcoming budget, he added. The decision, which was made last year, was not implemented due to bureaucratic delays, the President revealed. (CG)