The executive body of Goan Seafarers’ Association of India (GSAI), during its meeting, which was held on Thursday, decided to continue with its demand for continuation of ex-gratia pension scheme.
The body also decided to ask for a higher pension amount than the current Rs 200 a month, and challenge the lump sum amount decided by the society that runs the scheme.
Speaking to the media after the executive body meeting, spokesperson for the association Dixon Vaz said that “seafarers are being robbed of their own hard earned money.”
“This is the hard earned money of seafarers from 1976 and since then they have been receiving Rs 200 per month. This decision by the Seafarers Welfare Fund Society (SWFS), which runs the Monthly Ex-gratia Monitory Assistance (MEMA) to stop it completely is illegal as per the society Act,” he said.
GSAI has also decided to actively involve the assistance of the widows of seafarers, who receive Rs 400 per month, and reject the one-time settlement of Rs 12,500.
“My husband worked on ship for more than 25 years before he retired and then passed away. We are against this amount that the society wants us to take. We cannot survive on a pension of Rs 200 per month; it needs to be made at least Rs 500 per month. If there is a settlement, it should not be Rs 12,500 but at least Rs 3 lakh,” said Virginia Alfonso, a retired seafarer’s widow.
GSAI president Franklin D’Costa, who chaired the meeting, said that the association would move ahead with its decision to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court at Goa next week.
A demand was also made to stop the functioning of the NUSI Maritime Academy as Goans are not benefiting from it.
“The academy has not been beneficial to any of the Goans, and we demand that it should be shut down. As it is we had given land for the NUSI Hospital, which was shut down. They have no right to continue like this,” said Vaz.
Source:: The Navhind Times