Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday approved cash grant instead of land for war widows or other legal heirs of defence force personnel who died in the wars with China and Pakistan in 1962, 1965 and 1971.
The policy change will be applicable to dependants of martyred soldiers besides permanently disabled soldiers of 1962 Indo-China War, 1965 Indo-Pak War and widows of 1971 Indo-Pak War.
Disclosing this, a spokesperson of the CM office said Captain Amarinder had okayed a grant of Rs 5 Lacs in lieu of one acre of land, with maximum of Rs 50 lacs for 10 acres, as per individual eligibility.
Capt Amarinder also directed the Sainik Welfare department to expedite the disbursement of the cash to provide the war widows with the much-needed relief, said the spokesperson.
Incidentally, in October 2016 former CM Parkash Singh Badal had also announced special grants-in-aid of Rs 50 lakh each to war widows or other legal heirs after many families of the soldiers killed during the war refused to end their agitation over the demand for 10 acres of land each from the Punjab government.
The policy for land to war widows or other legal heirs of defence force personnel was announced in 1975 and over 1,500 war widows who applied in time were allotted up to 10 acres of rural agricultural land or cash.
However, there were nearly 100 cases in which the applicants, for one reason or the other, failed to apply before the cut-off date.
The Punjab government had in the past decided to give cash compensation but it was rejected by the families since the amount was calculated at the rates prevalent in the mid-1970s. It came to around Rs 20 lakh per family.
The residual agricultural land available for allotment is either locked up in litigation or in unauthorised possession, which rendered it practically impossible for the war widow allottees to take possession of.