Kathmandu, February 21 Former British Gurkhas have demanded that the British government implement the ‘Report of The Technical Committee on Gurkha Veterans’ that calls for providing serving and former Gurkhas pay, pension, and other facilities equal to those paid to British soldiers. The report was prepared by ‘The Gurkha Technical Committee’ comprising officials from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence and officials from the Embassy of Nepal in the United Kingdom, together with representatives of Gurkha veterans groups. It was submitted to both governments on March 22, 2018. The former Gurkhas said the government of Nepal must take a strong stand to ensure implementation of the report. Krishna Bahadur Rai, president of Gurkha Satyagraha Samiti, said the implementation of the report would address all their decade-long demands related to discrimination against serving and former Gurkha soldiers in the British Army. “I do not know why the British government is delaying implementation of the report they themselves prepared,” he said. The United Kingdom government started providing equal pay and pension to Nepalis in 2007. According to Rai, this meant those who were recruited after 1993 retired after 2007 and became eligible for equal pension, but not equal pay and facilities for their service period before 2007. And, those recruited before 1993 and retired before 2007 were not paid equal pay, pension and facilities. Also, those who were made redundant and sent back to Nepal were not provided with facilities equal to those provided to British soldiers. Rai said the discrimination was so ridiculous that Gurkhas retiring before 2007 were paid up to 1,000 per cent less in pension than that paid to British soldiers. So much so that despite receiving full payment from Brunei and Hong Kong governments, the United Kingdom government paid the Gurkhas serving there less, he said. “Our demand is that the British government should reimburse the entire amount that Gurkhas did not receive due to discrimination despite the fact that the Tripartite Agreement between the United Kingdom, India and Nepal in 1947 has provisioned equal pay,” he said adding, “If the British government paid all outstanding amount, Nepal would receive a one-time payment of around one trillion rupees and around Rs 36 billion annually thereafter in increased pension amount.” According to Rai, the British government currently paid them pensions through India, so they also demand that the amount came directly to Nepal. He said the Government of Nepal should strongly take up all these issues with visiting British Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster, who arrived in Kathmandu on Wednesday for a four-day visit to address the demands of former Gurkhas. Lancaster, who is presently in Pokhara to observe the British recruitment camp there, is scheduled to meet President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel and Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali.
Ex-Gurkhas seek implementation of tripartite report
Published: 10:15 am Feb 22, 2019