New Delhi: Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore has asked railways to extend free passes to recipients of Sena Medal, saying that while the awardees of police medal get this facility, those conferred with the military honour, which is higher in precedence, have been 'strangely' left out.
In a letter to his senior colleague, Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu, Rathore, who himself served in the army, said that the facility of free rail passes was first initiated for the recipients of Param Vir Chakra till Shaurya Chakra, that is till Article 15 of Presidential Order of Precedence for Medals and Awards.
"Later, the facility was extended till Article 24 for those conferred with the Police Medal for Gallantry but, strangely, recipients of Sena Medal (Gallantry) were omitted though the latter is a higher award which is featured on Article 22 whereas the Police Medal features on Article 24," Rathore said in his letter dated March 30.
He also said that although the issue has time and again been taken up in Parliament - by public figures and also by Defence Services and the Ministry of Defence - no action has come in this regard.
Rathore, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, said that even Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Railways to act on the issue in six weeks' time. Asking Prabhu to get the matter resolved at his end, Rathore said that "the authorities concerned may be convinced to appreciate that the morale of our troops cannot be measured in financial terms alone and this discrimination has caused much anguish amongst the military community".