Retired seafarers vow to fight for pension benefits
MARGAO, AUG 23, 2009
Retired seafarers from Goa assembled at Assolna village on Sunday and have vowed to fight for pension benefits with the concerned authorities.
Scattered across the State, the retired seamen and the widows of seamen resolved to unite under one banner to take their battle for pension to the logical conclusion.
Though the retired seafarers and the widows receives monthly ex-gratia monetary assistance of Rs 200, aggrieved seafarers contended that they are also entitled for pension benefits denied to them all these years.
One of the convenors of today’s meeting, Papin D’Silva said what the retired seafarers receives from the NUSI Trust is only a monthly ex-gratia monetary assistance of Rs 200, adding that the retired seafarers need to be paid the pension.
“We have to fight for our right for the basic pension. The ex-gratia monetary assistance is different from pension. The retired and serving seafarers would form an association to bring all retired seafarers under one banner to fight for our rights”, he added.
Addressing the gathering, Ivor D’Souza underlined the need to form an association to unitedly fight for the rights of the retired seafarers.
“A beginning has been made today and this needs to be spread to the nook and corner of the State and then at the national level”, D’Souza added.
Former Assistant secretary of the National Union of Seafarers of India Urselino Almeida was invited by the convenors to address and guide the retired seafarers to achieve their goal.
Almeida told the retired seafarers that it may be difficult to get the pension from the government, but hastened to add that retired seafarers can be paid the pension out of the fund belonging to the seafarers.
The meeting resolved to write to the International Transport Workers Federation, Prime Minister, Finance Minister, besides the three Goan MPs Shripad Naik, Francisco Sardinha and Shantaram Naik in support of their long-pending demand.
Seafarers from Agonda, Paroda, Quepem, Majorda, Navelim, besides the seamen dominated villages of Assolna, Velim, Cuncolim and Chinchinim attended the meeting.
Incidentally, a meeting of seafarers had taken place at the NUSI Maritime Academy over two years ago, which was convened by PWD Minister, Churchill Alemao, wherein NUSI general secretary Abdulgani Serang had promised to consider increasing the existing monthly ex-gratia monetary assistance, but in vain.
Agitated seafarers has voiced their strong protest against the non-fulfillment of the promise to hike the ex-gratia relief, and bitterly complained that the relief is paid to the retired seamen once in six months.