Tuesday, May 5, 2015

MILITARY VETERANS NEED OLD AGE HOMES – AWHO and AFNHB must build Old Age Homes Instead of Houses

MILITARY VETERANS NEED OLD AGE HOMES
AWHO and AFNHB must build Old Age Homes Instead of Houses
Ramblings of a Retired Mind
By
VIKRAM KARVE

Sometime in the 1970’s the Army started a residential housing scheme for Army personnel under the aegis of Army Welfare Housing Organization (AWHO).

Since  in the true spirit of “jointmanship”  the Army had excluded the other two services from the AWHO  the Navy and Air Force started a similar scheme for Navy and Air Force personnel called Air Force Naval Housing Board (AFNHB).

These schemes were meant exclusively for Armed Forces personnel of the Army (AWHO) and Navy + Air Force (AFNHB).

Recently I happened to visit one such fauji housing complex and found a large number of civilians inside.

I asked my friend who lives there why there were so many civilians in a scheme meant exclusively for Defence Personnel, serving and retired.

My friend said: “This complex is more than 30 years old  so many of the original allottees have since died  and their houses have been inherited by their children. As you know very few “army brats” join the army now-a-days and they prefer to work in the civilian world  so many of the civilians you see are kids of erstwhile “fauji” owners. Many “army brats” are settled abroad or work in other cities  so they have given their houses to civilians on rent  since civilians give higher rent. Gradually  as the old “faujis” die – their civilian children will inherit their houses – and this will become a civilian colony – this fauji” colony will actually become a civilian housing colony and will be fauji” only in name...

So  in effect  are the AWHO and AFHNB building houses for civilians?

I think it would be better if AWHO and AFNHB build Old Age Homes instead of houses.

These old age homes can be allotted to senior citizen military veterans on monthly rental basis till they die.

At least  this way  the ownership will remain with the military and a larger number of needy ex-servicemen will benefit.

In any case  children of most military officers are settled abroad  and even those who live in India are busy with their careers and may not live with their military veteran parents.

The needs of veteran defence personnel abandoned by their children in old age will be better served by Old Age Homes with various concomitant geriatric facilities like Assisted Living, Medical Care, ECHS, Hospitals, CSD etc

So  does it not make sense to scrap the existing AWHO and AFNHB and create a Defence Services Old Age Home Scheme (DSOAHS) covering all the three services?

Let the Armed Forces stop building houses and start building Old Age Homes for service personnel – this will give veterans a sense of security.

Do you agree?

VIKRAM KARVE
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