Pensioners who retired before January 1, 2006 have been agitating to have their pension anomalies addressed. They are undergoing great hardship as a result of the high cost of living.
Parliamentarians of all political parties unanimously expressed concern about the plight of the pensioners when the matter was brought up before the House. Early this year, Chief Government Whip, Minister Dinesh Gunawardene, told Parliament that steps would be taken to rectify the pension anomalies when the National Salaries and Cadre Commission made its recommendations. He said the pensions of public servants who retired before 2006 were comparatively low.
The pension anomalies that prevailed up to December 31, 1996, were rectified by the UNP government.
Living costs are set to soar even further as the global food and economic crisis deepens. These retired persons have committed their lives for the good of the country.
Pensions still do not reflect the salary increases government officers have been enjoying since January 1, 2006. Hundreds of pensioners have gone to their graves with their grievances still not addressed.
Before the 2005 Presidential Election, we read the President’s Election Manifesto, “Mahinda Chinthanaya”, and noted with much hope the following paragraph:
“We will not allow the Senior Citizens who have sacrificed their lives for the children and the country to be isolated. Steps will be taken to increase Pensions on par with increases in the salaries of government servants. Anomalies affecting all categories of pensions will be removed to safeguard their dignity".
To date this promise remains only a promise.
Lionel Lekawasam Leanage, Ambalangoda