Dr. Col. Dhani Ram Shandil, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister who also holds the portfolio of Sainik Welfare, paid tributes to the Kargil war martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the sake of motherland here today.

Col. Shandil said that Nation was observing 14th Anniversary of ‘Operation Vijay’, launched during the Kargil war against Pakistan army and its backed militants in May, 1999 which ended on 26th July, 1999. He said that in 60 days long ‘Operation Vijay’ more than 527 soldiers sacrificed themselves for the Nation, out of which as many as 52 soldiers belonged to Himachal Pradesh who showed their mettle while guarding the Indian borders and sacrificed their lives for the country, fulfilling the pledge they had taken at the time of recruitment.

He said that People of the State were proud of the sons of the soil who brought laurels for the nation while fighting and guarding the frontiers on the heights of Kargil.

Minister said that brave soldiers from Himachal Pradesh had always been contributing significantly towards the Nation’s cause. He said that First Param Veer Chakra Awardee of Independent India, Major Som Nath Sharma hailed from Palampur in district Kangra.

Col. Shandil said that out of four Param Veer Chakras awarded during the ‘Operation Vijay’ two were conferred upon the soldiers from Himachal Pradesh. The PVC was conferred posthumously to Capt. Vikram Batra and to Hav. Sanjay Kumar who still is serving in Indian Army.

Shandil said that State Government was committed for the welfare of serving soldiers and ex servicemen of the State. He said that State Government had taken various initiatives for the welfare of ex-servicemen. He said that Government had announced to increase the pension to Ex-Servicemen and their widows above 60 years from Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 per month from April, 2013 besides enhancing the amount of War Jagir from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 5000 per annum.

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