Courtesy: The Hindu
At a time when scams are becoming common, the exemplary honesty and integrity of a retired Indian Air Force corporal is hard to ignore.
Charles Williams, 89, a World War II veteran from Mysore and who’s in poor health, wants to return the excess money credited to his pension account.
Mr. Williams joined the Royal Air Force in pre-Independent India. After being recruited, he was sent to Lahore for a six-week pre-induction training after which he was posted at Agra. Within days, Mr. Williams was sent to Burma where he saw action against the Japanese.
“Though in the RAF, our unit saw a lot of ground battle and we dug in and stayed put in the trenches. We were holed up for weeks without regular supply of food and water. The battle that raged was horrific with soldiers getting maimed and killed in the heavy exchange of fire. But ultimately we prevailed,” recalled Mr. Williams.
After retirement, he found certain anomaly in his pension and complained that he was being underpaid. “A visit to the local Sainik Welfare and Resettlement Board did not help me much as officials are apathetic to the grievances of ex-servicemen,” according to Mr. Williams, who then approached M.N. Subramani, president, VeKare Ex-Servicemen Trust in Mysore.
But calculations showed that the Centralised Pension Processing Centre of State Bank of Mysore, Mangalore, had credited Mr. Williams’ account with excess money.
Mr. Subramani said he was being credited with Rs. 300 towards fixed medical allowances to which he was not entitled. He was credited with Rs. 15,200 in excess with effect from July 2007.
“When this was brought to the notice of Mr. Williams, he asked me to inform the bank to recover the amount in 15 equal instalments so as not to put him in financial hardship,” said Mr. Subramani.
What is ironic is that Mr. Williams is returning the medical allowance when he needs it the most. He is visually impaired and desperately needs Rs. 1.5 lakh for a heart operation. “When I am not entitled for something, the national exchequer should not be made to bear the burden,” said Mr. Williams, whose only request was that the excess amount be deducted in instalments.
Meanwhile, Mr. Subramani has mailed a letter to SBM, Mangalore, drawing their attention to the anomaly.