SBI says disbursed Rs1,465 crore as first instalment of arrears under OROP
SBI has paid first instalment or one fourth of the total arrears amount up to February 2016 to service pensioners and full amount of arrears to ‘family pensioners’ and ‘gallantry award’ pensioners
 
State Bank of India on Monday said it released arrears worth Rs1,465 crore to about 7.75 lakh defence pensioners under the one rank one pension (OROP) scheme, as per the government rules.
 
The government had in November last year formally notified the OROP scheme for the more than 24 lakh defence ex-servicemen and 6 lakh war widows in the country.
 
“As per government guidelines, first instalment (one fourth of the total arrear amount up to February 2016) to service pensioners and full amount of arrears to ‘family pensioners’ and ‘gallantry award’ pensioners will be paid on 14 March, 2016. All pensioners will get revised basic (pension) from March 2016 onwards,” SBI Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya said in a statement.
 
The bank has the largest share of defence pensioners and serves about 50% of total defence pensioners across the country, she said. “The first tranche of arrears payment by SBI will be around Rs1,465 crore,” Bhattacharya added.
 
SBI noted that while the bank has taken utmost care in the computation and release of arrears to maximum number of eligible defence pensioners, there could be cases where it has not been able to release OROP arrears due to information gaps in the data available with the bank.
 
“All such persons may approach their pension-disbursing branch and provide the missing information for an early release of the arrears,” it added.
 
SBI has introduced facilities in all branches and Centralised Pension Processing Centres (CPPCs) to provide arrear details to the pensioners.
 
Despite a demand by protesting ex-servicemen to implement OROP with effect from 1 April 2014, the government has said that arrears would be paid with effect from 1 July 2014, and has pegged the arrears till December 2015 at Rs10,900 crore.
 
As per government directions, payment of arrears would be made by the pension-disbursing authorities in four instalments, except for family pensioners and pensioners in receipt of gallantry awards, who will be paid arrears in one instalment.
 
The OROP scheme is expected to cost the government Rs7,500 crore per year.

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Toll exemptions to cost Maharashtra a whopping Rs8,798.8 crore till FY2040
Maharashtra government will have to pay Rs8,798.8 crore till FY2040 as compensation to road builders for closing toll booths in the state, reveals reply received by Anil Galgali, under the RTI Act
 
To keep its promise made during the elections, the Maharashtra government will have to pay a whopping Rs8,798.79 crore till FY2039-40 to road builders as compensation for making 53 booths toll free, reveals a reply received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
 
According to the reply received by RTI activist Anil Galgali, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and the Public Works Department (PWD) will pay Rs353 every year till FY2039-40 as compensation to road builders. 
 
In his RTI application, Galgali has sought information from PWD Minister Chandrakant Patil about number of toll booths closed and also about the toll booths on which exemptions have been provided. 
 
In the reply, Shailedra Borse, the public information officer (PIO) told Galgali that PWD has 19 projects with total 27 tollbooths where cars, jeep, state transport busses and school buses are exempted from paying toll. Due to this exemption, the PWD is paying Rs179.69 crore to the road contractor for FY2015-16. It will continue to pay the amount for next 25 years or till FY2039-40, taking the total amount to be paid as compensation to Rs7,377.44 crore. 
 
Similarly, on the 12 projects under MSRDC, 26 toll nakas are functional on which cars, jeep, state transport buses and school buses have been given exemptions. This will cost the exchequer Rs284.27 crore for the FY2015-16 and has to be paid for next five years that is up to 2019-20 totalling Rs1,421.35 crore, the reply reveals.
 
Galgali said, "Instead of taking strong action on people who are looting the public and government in the name of toll tax, the government is being very lenient towards them. Instead all the companies involved in the business of toll collection should have been audited by the government. The willingness shown in paying compensation for toll exemptions seems to be a case where the treatment seems to be costlier and dangerous than the illness itself."
 
"What is more shocking is as per the RTI reply, out of 38 toll booths, only 11 were closed ensuing a payment of Rs226.51 crore as compensation by PWD. In case of MSRDC, only one out of 53 tollbooths is closed for which Rs168 crore are being paid as compensation. So the total amount being paid is Rs394.51 crore for closing 12 toll booths," Galgali added.  

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Real Estate : SBI Held Liable for Negligence
Leenata Dhamankar has successfully fought against the negligence of the mighty State Bank of India (SBI) in the safekeeping of her property title deeds. Ms Dhamankar had taken a housing loan in 2000 for purchasing two flats in a housing society in Chembur (Mumbai). The title documents were deposited with SBI as collateral security and had to be returned upon repayment of the loan. Considering the value of the flat, Ms Dhamankar was also sanctioned an education loan in 2003 against the same title documents.
 
After making all payments and clearing the entire loan amount, Ms Dhamankar sought release of the entrusted title documents. After considerable correspondence and several follow-up visits, the Bank gave her certified copies of the title deeds obtained from the sub-registrar’s office which were incomplete. In the absence of the title documents, Ms Dhamankar was unable to sell her flat and relocate to her native place. Aggrieved, she filed a complaint before the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (MSCDRC) seeking compensation for the harassment. She sought return of the original title deed or compensation of Rs93 lakh for the loss due to her inability to sell the flat.
 
The MSCDRC order held the Bank liable to pay compensation of Rs3 lakh, along with 12% interest from the date of filing the complaint till payment. Ms Dhamankar was also awarded Rs1 lakh for mental agony and harassment and Rs50,000 towards litigation cost. The Bank was directed to comply with the order within 45 days.
 

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