Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sixth Pay Commission Air Force Pension

The pay scales for defence officers have been recommended in the table 2.3.1 which are as follows:
(These scales are at minimum of scale and maximum of scale for the rank including Grade Pay & MSP)

Fg Offr 25760- 28890
Flt Lt 29100- 32240
Sqn Ldr 34380- 40030
Wg Cdr 38880- 45140
Gp Capt 43360- 47270
Air Cmde 47640- 49990
AVM 52280- 57990
Air Mshl 59990- 65090
VCAS 80000 (fixed)
AOC-in-C &
CAS 90000(fixed)

Now I reproduce below para 5.1.47 of the report:
Table Annex 5.1.1 showing fixation of the existing pensioners in the revised dispensation consequent to implementation of the recommendations of this commission has been prepared and should be used for fixing the revised pension of the existing pensioners. The fixation as per this table will be subject to the provisions that the revised pension IN NO CASE, shall be lower than 50% of the sum of minimum of the pay in the Pay Band and the Grade Pay thereon corresponding to the pre- revised pay scale from which the pensioner had retired. To this extent a change would need to be allowed from the fitment shown in the fitment table.

Therefore in my opinion the Pension Fixation as on 1.1.2006 should be as follows:
(Since there are no arrears on account of MSP the same has not been taken in to consideration)

Fg Offr 9880
Flt Lt 11550
Sqn Ldr 14190
Wg Cdr 16440
Gp Capt 18680
Air Cmde 20820
AVM 26140
Air Mshl 29995

Thanks, May I have suggestions on this. Have nice day.

Wg Cdr Rajeeve Lochan (Retd)

Comments: In the absence of precise algorithm calculating of pension is not simplistic. Ultimately it will be decided by the babus of CDA(Pensions) which is truly bureaucratic in nature, ted tapism galore. One needs to wait till the dust and heat settles down. The pension arrears will be paid in penny packets and difficult for the not so savvy to keep tag of, as to what is entitled and what is credited in the banks. This is what exactly CDA confirms when it says, "Officers lose about 10% of their entitlements during their lifetime (serving or retired)". Confirming that financial regulations are intricate and interpretation shrouded with many intangibles.

Tawang September 1962 The Balloon goes up

Lull before the storm
It was the proverbial ‘Lull before the Storm’ that day on 8th of September of 1962, a Saturday, a weekend the legacy left by the British. In bracing cold Tawang at 10000feet plus was basking in bright sunshine. A clear day with the greens of the meadows, the deep blues of the sky, the silver of the river Tawang Chu flowing deep in the valley, the browns and reds of houses of the Tawang village, the majesty of the Tawang Monastery visible not far away was over powering. It was not too cold, not too hot but just pleasant Tawang that day was a tourist’s delight. However, there were no tourists in Tawang those days except the occasional VIP's who choppered to stay for lunch, give sermons, talk in platitudes and fly back again to civilisation in plains of Tezpur, Lucknow or Delhi.

Bde HQ
In any case it was too quiet and peaceful to resemble a noisy and bustling tourists resort with the Brigade HQ equally quiet. There was no officer present in the HQ except Lt Sharma the Brigade Ordnance Officer the duty-officer of the day; all others had gone off to attend a Bara Khana in one of the battalions.

It was my practice to go for an evening walk in the afternoon. I was reluctant to go out on this day as there was no one in the Bde HQ. However Lt Sharma insisted even though he was the duty officer. We had been lulled to the extent that even the duty officer was willing to leave his post with firm faith that nothing could happen especially in our Brigade Sector. We left via the Signal Centre as was my practice. It was all quiet there nothing on the air or line: some how too peaceful to my liking. We may have been away from the HQ at the most for an hour. However as we approached the HQ I could feel a tension in the air resulting in quickening of our pace. The scene had completely changed. It was getting dark and gloomy and there was unease in the atmosphere. Some thing was wrong very wrong.

Assam Rifles Post Surrounded
Wondering as to what had happened to bring about the sudden change both of us gingerly trooped in to the BM’s room apprehensive and expecting a rocket for our absence from the HQ where in every one seemed to have gathered. No one took notice of our entry. Kharbanda a bit worse for wear due to some extra beer incoherent with his eyes- bleary red and watering but a soldier to core - he was all decked up in full battle gear with his large pack ready for move. It transpired that Bingo the Assam Rifles post had been surrounded by more than 600 Chinese earlier in the day. This was according to a message received in a round about manner late in the evening; that is how the communication system was functioning those days. Kharbanda as we could see was all set to relieve the post single handed. All of us were more worried about him desperately trying to hold him back than the Chinese or Bingo. The scene would have definitely appeared a bit comical to an outsider ideal for a sequence in the war movies being produced in Bombay.

Suddenly Hindi Chini ‘bhai bhai’ became Hindi Chini ‘bye bye’

Ops Room Buzzing
Kharbanda’s small room, the telephone ringing continuously with incoming and out going calls to Tezpur where all of us of the Bde HQ had gathered resembled an ad hoc Operational Room. With so many of us crowding around the air had become charged with combined energy of diverse emotions; excitement apprehension uncertainty and even fear of the unknown all adding to the whole in various proportions depending on the attitude of the particular individual. With the BM being out of action Pereira the DQ the only possible link with the Commander at Tezpur and possibly me the Signals officer had a role to play others apart from the mess staff providing unending supply of mugs of coffee and tea were just hanging around trying to look involved and useful not unlike friends and relations holding vigil outside the Operating Theatre with some near and dear one on the surgeon’s table inside.

Commander Recalled
Willy- nilly the Brigade HQ swung into action Maj Pereira took charge of the situation. Commander was located in the guest room of the Mahar Regiment at the Tezpur airfield next door to the airfield from where his IAC plane was to take off early next morning carrying him thousands of miles away to Meerut in North India. The plane did take off the next morning. However his seat was empty. He took another seat but in a helicopter back to Tawang.

Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Officers and Orderlies

In the military, a soldier is assigned to an officer to attend to his small personal requirements such as prepare his dress, serve bed tea, keep his room in good order, etc. This sets the officer free to deal with more important issues demanding his attention.

A few years ago, someone thought that the term “orderly” was not in keeping with the democratic norms and decided to rename him as “Sahayak” though his range of duties and commitments remain the same.

Over time a strong relationship builds between the officer and his orderly (sorry Sahayak). The latter would go to any extent to make his officer comfortable. Thus an orderly of a Polish officer during World War II would bring hot meals from the enemy kitchen for his officer. He continued with this enterprise for quite some time till one day he was found out and taken prisoner.
When General Musservy came to India to attend the centenary celebrations of his regiment so did his long time Sahayak. The two went into a long hug with tears flowing down their wrinkled cheeks.

Sahayaks not only attend to the basic needs, but often proffer advice to the officer. While I was working as a staff officer, my Sahayak finding that I was not regular with the morning physical training would often lecture me on the need for an officer to remain physically fit. He continued lecturing me till the annual test of a five-mile run where I beat him by a wide margin. After that he never brought up the subject of physical fitness.

During training camps, the officers are accommodated in tents of various sizes, depending on rank. Camp equipment is an essential requirement, such as camp cot, a hurricane lamp, an odd stool or table and in the bath tent, the necessary items like foot board, bucket, mug, stool and a commode, better known as “thunderbox”, etc.

We were on one such camp when a young officer, straight from the academy, arrived late in the evening. He was assigned a tent and a Sahayak. On discovering that the officer had just his bedding and a small box with none of the camp essentials listed above, Sahayak was in a quandary.

The young officer after leaving his baggage with his Sahayak went to the officer’s mess. After dinner everyone moved to their respective tents and so did this officer. On opening the flap of his tent he found that his bedding was neatly laid out on a camp cot, there was a hurricane lamp, stool, a hanger or two for his clothes and the bathroom was fully equipped with a bucket full of water, “thunderbox”, etc. He felt happy at having come to a regiment where they took such good care of their officers!

He was immersed in these pleasant thoughts when someone shouted that his camp cot was missing and soon more protests were heard regarding other items. A search commenced and item by item were traced to this newly arrived officer’s tent. One by one these items were taken away with this officer helplessly watching the proceedings. Soon his bedding was on the floor and nothing else left with him.

Throughout these unseemly proceedings the officer’s Sahayak remained in the shadows and when every item was taken away, he was overheard telling another Sahayak, “Mein ta sub kuch ekatha kar detha se, par saab kolon sambhalya hi nahin gaya.” (I had collected everything, but the sahib could not consolidate his hold on these!)
Reproduced for benefit of Readers Article in Tribune, 26 March 2008

Lt Gen Harwant Singh, PVSM, AVSM (Retd)

Become a Millionaire in the Armed Forces

You can become a young millionaire with a few simple steps. Many people find this hard to believe because they do not know how many Defence Forces millionaires are enjoying the bounty of the services; however, do not buy into that belief. With some simple steps you can put yourself on the road to enjoying the perks of young millionaire status. The Sixth Pay commission has made it a reality for every one's dream to come true.

All one has to do is invest the MSP in the Provident Fund which yields about 10% or more Compounded Interest. Let us examine the savings for a Jawan and an Officer in the armed Forces.

  • Jawan
    MSP is Rs 1000 pm, invest it in Provident Fund earning 10% Interest for 20 years. Investment after 20 years will total over Rs 6 lakhs.

  • Officer
    MSP is Rs 6000 pm, invest it in Provident Fund earning 10% interest or more for 30 years. Investment for 30 years will yield Rs 105 lakhs.

    There are ever so many methods or models of managing Salaries which leads one to save, invest consistently and wisely. Utilise soft loans for a house or a buying a car. Save all your tax free field area allowances which can add to your investment.

    Start today and take the steps to become a millionaire. If one is a millionaire there is really no need for one to look for a job or work for anyone else after retirement. You are master of your own destiny! You as an Ex- Servicemen can enjoy the fruits of your hard labour at your own pace and pleasure.
  • Indomitable Spirit Lives on for Eternity

    I fell in love with the perceived image of Jeet,(my late wife) even before I saw her. I had been sent a small a photograph small print with all the seven sisters jostling for space. Travelling all the way from Jalandhar to Dehradun I was trying desperately to solve the riddle of identifying my prospective bride, I had been given no clue in the accompanying letter about her identity. Any way I saw her and was conquered on the spot.

    Our parents also decided to make the love bond stronger and made us take the vows twice in 12 hours by having two separate and different wedding ceremonies. Army also helped, those days it firmly believed in the adage; ‘Separation makes the Love Bond Stronger’ and promptly posted me to a field station far away from her, where even letters took ten days or so to reach.

    In due course the children followed making the bond even stronger.

    Nature also decided to chip in and one day the sky fell on us, her biopsy result came out positive. That started our long fight, lasting for more than 8 years with the most dreaded enemy one can have, Cancer, she bravely and I patiently. Many battles were won and lost by both of us over the period. We came even closer to each other, the love bond becoming stronger, she worried of my future without her and I fearful of loosing the battle, holding her hand tight to prevent it slipping away.

    Alas one day the hand did slip away, leaving her frail body in my hands, both of us speechless, she permanently, with just a half shed tear hanging precariously to the eyelid. Was there a last unspoken message in the tear for me?

    Her illness was our second and longer Honeymoon, at least in terms of the time, now, together. To me she, even with her now frail body, was still as attractive as before, may be more especially with the fear of loosing her looming large all he time. The Army once again proved right, now that we are so far away from each other the bond is the strongest

    We lost the battle but won the war, possibly because of the love, concern and empathy for each other, proving that these are equally important to a terminally ill, possibly more, as is appropriate medical care.

    A combination of the two does make a formidable and powerful weapon in the fight against Cancer irrespective of the fact that one wins or looses the fight.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Report My Signal Team grieves the loss of Jeet who bravely shared the travails of a Soldier. Her spirit and embodiment of immortality transcends time and space.

    Sixth Pay Commission Critical Analysis

    The SPC is out and as usual we have been HAD it right & royal. With much ado about nothing media talks of the services getting a bonanza whereas it it the civil services that have got the cake leaving the services to gloat upon the crumbs. A Brig with 24/25 years will still be equivalent to an IAS officer with 14/15 years and while most civil service officers will join in PB3 (Pay Bracket) 3 and retire in PB4, 95% of army officers will join in PB3 and retire in PB3 i.e only one pay slab. MSP is not to be considered for interse fitment. The 6000 MSP is nullified by the returns on pension and sidereal perks earned by the civilian. Forget the IAS even the IPS, IA&AS, IRS,IES, Met Dept, IDAS etc will join in PB3 and retire in PB4. Even Gp B civ will join PB2 and retire in PB3.
    Yes an increase has been given and will buy rounds of scotch for the next few years but what then? inflation will catch up and we will be back to square one wondering why no one joins the army. As soon as the lull in the present market takes an upswing the corporates will hike pay scales. Purchase power will go up & so will the cost of living . What does it imply? We are back to square one. Don't we have one single professional who could have broken the shackles or has the attitude of shut- up-baccha-I-know-better-than-you-attitude-worked-again?.
    Personally I feel the Chiefs should remember the Chetwode motto and refuse to accept the Pay Commission. - or will they be happy since Mera kamm bangaye, baaki jaaye bhaad mein.


    Forwarded by Brig PT Gangadharan (Retd)

    Comments: Salient points to remember. The ratio of lowest pay to highest paid in the Defences Forces is still about 1:10 (Jawan: COAS). This is in itself an anomaly which needs correction. The IAS intake is about one tenth of the intake of Defence Forces each year. The Defence Forces are themselves responsible for demeaning the Rank command structure. We have competed with the Police who have about a dozen Inspector Generals in a State when really one ought to be in the apex chair to head the department. The Defence Forces right now are saddled top heavy with ageing Generals who reflect the overall image of the Defence Forces. The youth are nowhere in sight or limelight.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Rescue of Dogra Women



    Poonch Rajouri Link Up 1948
    Despite the resistance created by the Opposing Forces, both Rajouri and Poonch Columns kept advancing steadily. They finally met at the rendezvous and formed into a Bde under Brig Pritam Singh. As planning for the intended attack was underway, 30 very young Dogra girls mostly pregnant, some in advanced stages, appeared suddenly. They were weeping loudly. They complained to the Bde Comdr that Muslims of the area grabbed them from their parents through intimidation and kept them in their houses against their will. They were often beaten and gang raped mercilessly. As Indian troops arrived, the Muslims ran away from their houses, leaving the girls behind. The girls found an opportunity to escape from the captivity and came running to our Column for help. They repeatedly begged the Bde Comdr for reunification with their parents.

    Humane Logistics
    The Dogra girls created a huge problem for the Bde Comdr. Their reunification with parents was out of question. The Bde Comdr, therefore, decided to evacuate them to Poonch, from where they could be flown by normal Dakota service to Delhi for further necessary resettlement. Under orders from the Bde Comdr a small patch of land was levelled up along side a Stream for a small aircraft to land. A small single engined two seater aircraft called Harvard was retained at Poonch for emergency use. The Bde Comdr ordered the use of that aircraft for evacuation of the girls to Poonch. The Harvard Pilot made three trips and managed to evacuate six girls.

    IAF Dakota
    Shortly after that, a Dakota started circling over our location. On seeing that, Brig Pritam Singh who was sitting next to me, asked me to order the Dakota Pilot to go away as we did not want him. I got in touch with the Pilot on RT and passed the Comdr’s orders, which he acknowledged immediately. Nevertheless, the Dakota kept circling and started descending by reducing the speed. The Pilot soon landed the Dakota at the levelled ground. He then got out came uphill to meet the Bde Comdr.

    Pilot Reprimanded
    Brig Pritam Singh was furious at the Pilot for disobedience of his orders. He threatened to take his belt off and put him under arrest. He was so angry with the pilot that he continued with his abusive slurs and outbursts in Punjabi. He said that the Dakota now has to be written off. He asked the pilot if he possessed enough money to pay the cost of the Dakota? The Pilot kept mum, listening very attentively to each of the Bde Comdr’s harsh and unpleasant words with his eyes fixed to the ground.

    Permission Granted
    When anger of the Bde Comdr subsided somewhat, the Pilot requested his permission to say a few words. On receiving the Comdr’s permission, he said "Sir, I have a family. In case the Dakota crashes while taking off from here, I too shall die and my family too shall suffer. That is the last thing I would like to happen. I have very long service in the Indian Air Force and a lot of experience in flying Dakotas. In case I had the slightest doubt in my mind about taking off, I would never have decided to land. Sir, Please trust me and permit me to take all the remaining girls to Delhi in the Dakota. I am positive that I shall succeed in this mission".

    Rescue Mission
    After careful consideration , the Bde Comdr agreed to his request. The girls were loaded in the Dakota and the Pilot took a detailed look around surrounding hills. He found a saddle between two hill- tops and decided to fly the Dakota above that saddle. He warmed up the aircraft engine for a long while. As soon as the Dakota got into motion, the Pilot put it into the ’Flying Gear’ and buzzed off through the saddle, leaving us all anxiously waiting and praying for his success. As soon as the Dakota flew past the saddle, the Pilot reported “All Clear“ on the RT. I passed his message to the Bde Comdr who took a sigh of relief. It was later learnt that the Pilot in question was appropriately decorated for this extraordinary deed of bravery in rescuing all the deserted Dogra Women.

    Pritam of Poonch by Lt Gen Harwant singh
    History Dogra Rule

    Lt Col Pritam Singh Jauhal (Retd)
    Founding President Indian Ex- Servicemen Society British Columbia

    A close encounter

    Khurana’s inexperience and exuberance of youth one day resulted in my nearly being shot, but for luck and chance coming to my rescue. Officer couriers from lower formations carried personal arms when detailed to collect the cipher documents. One such officer on temporary duty was the guest staying in the main building of the mess. As I recall it was a Sunday morning when Khurana and I after breakfast thought it fit to greet him out of courtesy and walked in his room.

    Courier officer on duty had inadvertently left his service pistol on the mantelpiece. Unable to resist the temptation of examining it, Khurana quickly picked the pistol after giving it an admiring look and perfunctory examining it from various angles, he cocked the pistol and pointed it at me.

    Looking straight at the barrel of the pistol in close proximity was no comfort and I shouted "What are you doing it may be loaded?". Ignoring my desperate plea and frantic waving Khurana gave a wry smile and the next thing I heard was a bang; he had pulled the trigger with the bullet just missing me and getting embedded in the soft plaster of the mantelpiece; thanks to the soft plaster luckily it had not ricocheted. Had it hit the hard cement wall its trajectory and consequences both would have been unpredictable.

    Every one was stunned perhaps Khurana more than any one else. There was a commotion all those having late breakfast including the mess staff ran towards and trooped en masse in to the room. Fully aware of the folly and carelessness and failure to follow safety precautions, the Cipher Officer and Khurana were totally dumbfolded. The redeeming feature of the incident being that I was still hale and hearty though a bit shaken. Lesson learnt never take chances with a firearm and refrain from being trigger happy, safety precautions must be adhered at all times.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    Pay panel recommends special pay for Armed Forces

    The Sixth Pay Commission (SPC) on Monday recommended an up to twofold increase in the salaries of defence personnel that would include a military service pay of up to Rs 6,000 a month and grade pay, apart from suggesting their direct entry into central para- military forces.

    "We have observed that government is spending on the training of these jawans (defence personnel), which are left on the street in their prime age at the age of 33-34. The lateral entry will provide them longer career and lesser burden on government," Pay Commission Chairman B N Srikrishna told reporters.

    In a significant move, the respective chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force will be among the highest paid in the country, drawing Rs 90,000 per month, equivalent to the Cabinet Secretary under the new pay structure recommended by Commission.

    The report, which is expected to be implemented with effect from January 1, 2006, has recommended payment of arrears in two phases. However, the panel made it clear that for the military service pay (MSP), the government will not have to pay any arrears.

    In the officers category, it has recommended a pay scale of Rs 15,600-Rs 39,100 for Lieutenant to Brigadiers, along with a grade pay of Rs 5,400 and MSP of Rs 6,000 a month. Accordingly, the total revised monthly pay of Lieutenant, Sub-Lieutenant or Flying Officer will be Rs 25,760 to Rs 28,890.

    The Major-General/Rear Admiral/Air Vice Marshal have been put in the pay scale of Rs 39,200-Rs 67,000 besides a grade pay of Rs 9,000, but without any MSP. They will be getting a monthly salary of Rs 52,280-Rs 54,480 as per the revised pay scales.

    Pay for Armed Forces

    Comments: The demand for Military Service Pay (X Factor) has at last been recommended by SPC which will partly compensate for the hazardous service conditions. The really important aspect is that Military Rank status which has been consistently eroding and on the decline in each of the successive five pay commissions is now arrested in the SPC. This is a positive, the one and only foremost redeeming factor. Certainly, the Pay Commission needs to be complimented for taking the bold step of keeping at bay the IAS lobby from further demeaning the Armed Forces Status. The pensioners can joyfully look up to 40 percent enhancement (merging of existing DA to pay will marginally hike up existing pension by 10% to 20%).

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Stranded in London October 1984

    Munich with Bose of DOE

    Hamburg. Lt Col Shamsher Singh deeply engrossed in the specifications of the equipment, Bose looking up, perhaps at a passing aircraft, Sarma contemplating and attentive self.

    The Grave of General Rommel that we visited in Munich

    I was leading a delegation to United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary with a mission to scout/ surf for communication equipment for the Indian Army. My foreign hosts were in a real quandary with me, being a vegetarian, a teetotaler and immune to other subtle niceties of life. These are hidden perks one gets when on business deals. These temptations did not interest me in the least.

    The others three members of the delegation did have their own quirks. LT Col Shamsher Singh, my, self-appointed guide with friends in UK and all over the continent would regularly vanish leaving me stranded as also worried to appear suddenly and only minutes before we were scheduled to leave for the engagement of the day. Armindam Bose of DOE, on the other hand was always on lookout for contributions from all and sundry for the forthcoming Puja festival back home. Shri M S N Sarma, the absent minded professor from DRDO had discovered from his earlier trips, places where he could get rice and curds, the staple diet of South Indians. He would also create embarrassing situations for himself and others like missing from the dinner invitations, entering the ladies toilet or walking nonchalantly through the red channels at the airports with out stopping to be hauled back rudely by the customs.

    Stranded and taxiing back
    What happened during the delegations visits when I was stranded in London during the trip does merit narration. It was a weekend and I was alone in my eighth floor room with the others members of the delegation away to enjoy the free day. A hotel room with nothing to do can be terribly oppressive and boring. Feeling adventures and a bit bold I came out of Hotel Imperial in Russell Square where I was staying with the earlier experience of travelling by the tube escorted by Shamsher an expert on London streets I felt confident of managing the outing on my own I took the tube from Euston under-ground station to Piccadilly Circus. After a random walk of window shopping and looking around I decided to see a movie one of those that run in an unending loop where one can buy a ticket walk in or walkout any time one feels like. Possibly getting bored I came out of the hall and I decided to return back to the hotel when to my horror and constraint I found that the tube had downed the shutters for the night to add to my misery with no umbrella at hand it also started to rain the typical English falling in light sprays.

    I totally unfamiliar with the metropolis having arrived only a couple of days back and scheduled to leave the next day felt utterly lost and was a worried Indian . Though stranded in the middle of London there appeared to be no one around, Gentleman or lady, Indian or English willing to extend a helping hand. The worry of getting stranded increasing by the minute also of the possibility of some untoward incident happening at back of my mind and a real possibility making the Headline News the next morning in bold letters asking a question as to what a senior Indian Army officer was doing that late in night and at a place where he should not have been more so of getting mugged and loosing the Passport and the precious Pounds in my pocket; the human brain is capable of conjecturing all sort of frightening scenarios.

    Taxiing back
    Many taxis cruised past some to my surprise driven by ladies as luck would have it all occupied. Fortunately the frightening scenarios remained a figment of imagination and never became real nothing like what I had been imagining all the time happened and with an unoccupied taxi mercifully appearing and dropping me safe and sound at the hotel except that throughout the drive back I had my eyes riveted on the green digital display’s speedily scrolling numerals indicating the alarmingly increasing fare by mile and the minute with me all the time counting the limited cash in my pocket.

    Brig Lakshman Singh, VSM (Retd)

    Remembering Indo Pak skirmish 1948

    First Link-Up Poonch- Rajouri
    Shortly after the capture of Chhawa Ridge in 1948, Brig Yadonath Singh (later Maj Gen) Comdr 19 (Indep) Inf Bde moved his Bde Tac HQ from Naushera to Rajouri. There he called a meeting of Lt Col (later Lt Gen) Jagjit Singh Arora CO 1/2 Punjab Regt, Lt Col (later Brig) KS Dhillon CO 4 Kumaon, Maj (later Brig) RP Mittal Offg CO 16 Fd Regt Arty, Maj (later Lt Col) RNR Sawhney, OC 19 (Indep) Inf Bde Sig Coy and myself. I was ordered to take part in the briefing because the sig comns I provided for the Bde in addition to my 16 Fd Regt Arty Regt during Chhawa Operation when Maj Sawhney OC Bde Sig Coy was away on leave, worked extremely well. I was personally selected by the Bde Comdr as Column Sig Offr.

    The Bde Comdr said “as per latest intelligence reports, adversaries have set up a large Training Centre at Mendhar between Rajouri and Poonch which I have decided to destroy. To achieve this task, since no rail/ road exists, a Column of 1/2 Punjab Regt and 4 Kumaon Regt with a Signal element, shall move on foot. The Column shall be commanded by Col Dhillon of 4 Kumaon. Adjutant 4 Kumaon shall act as Column Staff Offr and Lt Jauhal shall be the Column Sig Offr. Only guns, sig eqpt and barest min stores shall be carried on mules“. He also added “another Column of 1 Kumaon Regt under local Brig Pritam Singh shall move on foot from Poonch. Both Columns shall rendezvous 5 kilometers South of Mendhar and shall form into a Bde under Brig Pritam Singh. The Bde shall attack and destroy Mendhar Training Centre. On completion of the task, the Bde shall move on foot to Poonch. The Rajouri Column shall have a week’s rest and return on foot to Rajouri”.

    Signal Plan
    Maj Sawhney and I worked out a sig plan for the Operation. It was decided to establish a wireless net with Control Station at Bde Tac HQ and two outstations with Poonch and Rajouri Columns. The Control Station will be supervised by Maj Sawhney and the outstations shall be the responsibility of Lt Jauhal. The outstations shall carry two 16 feet telegraph poles each for erection of wyndom aerials. During the move of Columns, the Control Station shall remain on listening watch to enable the outstations to clear their ‘Sitreps’ as and when required.

    The Rajouri Column assembled as ordered at the given place, date and time. Its sig comns were working perfectly. The Column was then ordered to move. As soon as its forward elements crossed our own outposts, they came under hostile sniper and machinegun fire. The Punjab Regt, leading the Column cleared the resistance by putting an appropriate attack and the move recommenced. Such skirmishes occurred time and time again during the move. They were immediately dealt with by our Advancing Troops. Whenever, the Column halted for some time for any reason, I ordered my wireless operators to erect the wyndom aerial as per directions given by me using a compass, which I carried all the time. The set was opened and comn established with the Control Station. At my request the Column Staff Offr originated a ‘sitrep’ which was immediately cleared to the Control Station. Incidentally, being an Operator Telegraph Class one during my rank service, I had achieved the Morse Code Sending and Receiving speed of 40 words per minutes. On many occasions I was detailed to send Test messages for Operator Telegraph Class one Reading tests. To help the Column tired signal operators, I transmitted the sitreps myself on the set. As a result of continued resistance by the Opposing Forces, speed of the Column was reduces. Besides, being Summer month it was extremely hot. The most wanted commodity by every person of the Column was cold water to quench his thirst. There being no other water source available, clean water flowing down the mountain streams was used for drinking. Spare water was carried in chhagals by every individual. Despite the resistance created by the Opposing Forces, both Rajouri and Poonch Columns kept advancing steadily. They finally met at the rendezvous and formed into a Bde under Brig Pritam Singh.

    Neutralising Mendhar Training Centre
    The newly coordinated Bde launched its well planned attack on Mendhar Training Centre and destroyed it completely. Brig Pritam Singh was extremely pleased with two successes. The Bde then moved to Poonch on foot where the Rajouri Column had a week’s rest in Moti Palace and adjoining buildings. On completion of the rest, the Column started its move to Rajouri following the route it had taken for its onward journey. Successfully clearing repeated resistances en route, it finally reached Rajouri on a sunny hot day.

    Reliable Communications
    I was on my way to see Maj Sawhney to discuss sig comns working for the Operations. On seeing me going past, Brig Yadonath Singh called me. I saluted him smartly and stood waiting to hear him say something. He simply started looking at my face curiously. Scared, I wondered what was next to come? The Brig quickly grabbed me in his arms. I was taken aback and tried to get away from him. He tightened his grip further and squeezed me. Finally he said “I know what you have done for the Column. I was receiving up to the minute information about the Column’s activities on your wireless set. I know it was only made possible by you. I never had such good sig comns in my entire service. Thank you very very much. You look completely tired and you need sleep. Pointing his right hand, he said that is my bed. Go and sleep on it.” I expressed my sincere thanks and gratitude to him for his very kind and warm words. I further said that I shall not sleep on his bed and sleep on the ground which was good enough for me.

    The next morning, the Bde Comdr called a meeting of Comdrs and expressed his great pleasure for destruction of the Mendhar Training Centre. He further said that he was receiving up to the minute information on the wireless from the Column. For that he specially commended me and my signal team for the excellent communications. I thanked him for his compliments and conveyed the appreciation to all the Signal operators.

    Lt Col Pritam Singh Jauhal (Retd)

    Law enforcers become law breakers

    When cops turn into killers. Suspended Inspector General of Police R.K. Sharma has earned the dubious distinction of becoming arguably the first IPS officer in India convicted of murder. He has been held guilty of hatching a conspiracy to murder Shivani, a newspaper correspondent, who had allegedly developed intimate relationship with him and was threatening to expose him.

    How Georgia Tamed the Police
    Mr Saakashvili's most eye-catching change has been to streamline the interior ministry. More than half the country's police officers have been fired and interior troops transferred to the defence ministry.

    "Traffic police paid $2,000-$5,000 to get a job," says Irakli Okruashvili, the new interior minister. "Then they gave a percentage of the bribes they received to their bosses and used some to buy uniforms and cars. The system was self- financing. No one considered it corruption. It was a tradition."

    The new anti-corruption measures aim to be self-financing, with the money saved from staff cuts used to increase salaries five-fold to $200 a month. Mr Okruashvili estimates this is more than the previous "take-home bribe" after "taxes" had been paid to superiors.

    The new generation of traffic police is forbidden to carry more than $5 in cash. Plainclothes inspectors frisk them periodically to ensure they have not demanded money from innocent citizens. A dozen have been fired. Those left have received new uniforms and cars and now see the prospect of better career development. Public perception is changing, with a nightly television soap opera, called Patrol, launched to improve the image of the police.

    It was one example of the corruption that permeated Georgia's police force and much of the rest of society, and that is being tackled by the youthful administration of President Mikheil Saakashvili, one year after the downfall of Eduard Shevardnadze, his predecessor. Within span of 3 years the level of corruption in Georgia has been reduced so much so it has a 10% GDP rate compared to almost nil five years back!

    Pronounced Guilty, Tribune
    Georgia Police Reforms

    Comments: There is urgent need to overhaul the recruitment systems in the states. Bribes are paid for recruitment to Police which is supervised by IPS Officers. Corruption can be reduced if ESM (PBOR) are recruited who are already trained, physically more robust and disciplined. The Georgia Model is an eye opener. Maybe our GDP can grow at 20% if corruption is reduced/ controlled starting from the Police and moving upwards.


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