By Our Staff Reporter
New Delhi, 13 Sep: Sainik Welfare Minister Ganesh Joshi called on Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi today. On this occasion, Joshi apprised the Defence Minister in detail regarding the 127 Territorial Army and 130 Paryavaran Sena and Ex-Servicemen (ESM) of the Territorial Army in Uttarakhand. Joshi said that the role of ex-servicemen is very important in Uttarakhand and these retired ex-servicemen are working for environment protection in the state after their retirement through these units based in Dehradun and Pithoragarh.
Joshi pointed out that both these Task Force companies are working in Garhwal and Kumaon and are making significant contribution to environmental protection for which they had been also honoured with many awards by various organisations, the Government of India and State Government. So far, the companies of both these task forces had converted about sixteen hundred hectares of barren area into forest. Millions of trees had been planted and the barren mountains had been turned green again. Joshi said that the Eco Task Force also organised tree plantation campaigns from time to time in coordination with local school children and local social organisations.
Joshi also said that the Uttarakhand Government owes Rs 132 crores to the Defence Ministry, that the Ministry has paid to ex-servicemen. If the State Government fails to pay the dues, the Defence Ministry would disband the 127 and 130 Paryavaran Sena Force companies funded by the State Government and, as a result, about 400 ex-servicemen would be rendered unemployed and their families would also be adversely affected. Joshi requested the Defence Minister to waive the outstanding loan on the Uttarakhand Government or convert the above amount into grant-in-aid, so that the ex-servicemen working in the 127 and 130 Paryavaran Sena Force can continue to work on environmental protection as before.
Singh promised Joshi positive consideration on his demand regarding waiver of dues.