Seafarers meet at Cuncolim today
HERALD REPORTER/MARGAO, AUG 29, 2009
A week after they had an impressive meeting at Assolna, Seafarers have called for another meeting at Cuncolim near the Church on August 30 at 10.30 am to discuss and deliberate on the demand for pension and other benefits to the retired seamen.
The meeting convened by Arnoldo Fernandes, Agostinho Fernandes, Ifrone Dias and other seamen will finalise and seek approval from the seafarers community on the memorandum proposed to be submitted to the different authorities, including the Prime Minister of India.
The meeting will deliberate on other social benefits and medical benefits which the seafarers are entitled to for putting in years of work in the merchant Navy.
Retired seafarers are up in arms over the denial of pension benefits by the authorities and have to contend with a paltry ex-gratia relief of Rs 200 per month.
It has been the long standing demand of the seafaring community before the authorities to provide them the pension benefits. Retired seafarers have been particularly sore over the denial of pension since they have contributed to the progress of the country by earning precious foreign exchange over the years.
Retired seafarers and widows of seafarers had been knocking the doors of the National Union of Seafarers of India to either provide them pension or hike the existing ex-gratia relief substantially.
Two years back, NUSI general secretary Abdulgani Serang had promised the retired seafarers at the NUSI Maritime Academy that the Union would consider increasing the ex-gratia relief, but till date the retired seafarers and the widows continue to receive the monthly ex-gratia relief of Rs 200.