Cop widow in fight for rights
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- Published 25.03.03
|V.K. Mehta: Slain on duty|
March 18, 1984: Deputy commissioner (DC) of police, port division, V.K. Mehta, IPS, was on duty in the Metiabruz-Garden Reach area when he was mobbed and brutally killed. Nineteen years later, his widow, Pikkey, is frantically trying to wrest from the government her husband’s dues.
“Much was promised when my husband died tackling a mob at Metiabruz. But now, I am running from pillar to post for the pension benefits my husband would have rightfully drawn today," said an aggrieved Pikkey on Monday. "I receive Rs 7,097, a paltry sum considering what my husband’s designation and income would have been, had he been alive,” complained Pikkey, whose son Rishu was only nine when Mehta was killed.
Working in a state tourism office, where she was offered a job as special officer on compassionate grounds after Mehta’s death, Pikkey said she had recently called on finance secretary Samar Ghosh, to find out more about her husband’s pension benefits. “Though Ghosh gave me a patient hearing, nothing has been done as yet to redress my long-standing grievances,” said the 49-year-old.
According to Pikkey, the government used to pay her only Rs 1,550 — the last basic pay that Mehta drew — till 1992. It was upgraded to Rs 7,097 with DA and other allowances after the matter was taken up with state finance minister Asim Dasgupta. “But had my husband not been killed, his basic salary would have been on a par with that of the commissioner of police,” she pointed out, adding that in other states, handsome pensions were awarded in similar cases.
“Though 19 years have passed, the government has not figured out how to pay the pension. All police officers were paid arrears after the Fourth Pay Commission came into effect. Why should I be denied the same benefits?” she asked. Finance secretary Ghosh said his department is “looking into the matter and trying to settle it as soon as possible”.
Pikkey has also expressed disapproval of the statue installed in Mehta’s memory at the office of the deputy commissioner (port). She feels it does not resemble her husband at all. She was also unhappy about the two-room apartment allotted to the family near Minto Park, which was too small — with Rishu now a father himself. Pikkey has recently been awarded a plot in Salt Lake, where the Mehtas are constructing a small house.