Over fifty years after ace athlete Makhan Singh, hailing from a small village in Hoshiarpur district, defeated India’s “Flying Sikh”, Punjab Government has finally recognised his feat and came to the rescue of family of the “forgotten hero”.
The family of Arjuna awardee was leaving is a State of penury, 11 years after the former Asian Gold medalist died in 2002 due to extreme poverty. His two sons — Inderpal Singh (14) and Gurwinder Singh (22) — too passed away following bouts of illness, while the third one, Parminder Singh (30), who is disabled, is earning a monthly income of Rs 2,500 by working as a sewadar in Hoshiarpur Block Development and Panchayat Officer’s (BDPO) office. Now, the Punjab Government has appointed his son as helper in the office of District Welfare Officer, Hoshiarpur, with immediate effect.
Besides, the State Government would also provide a tri-cycle to meet the requirement of physically challenged son. In addition, the ‘disability relief’ would also be provided from Punjab Amalgamated Fund. Apart from that, the State Directorate of Defense Services Welfare would take up their case with Army Headquarters to make adequate provisions for continuation of family pension in favor of the veteran's son which is now only applicable to the veteran's wife.
The issue here was brought into notice by the State Chief Parliamentary Secretary of Defense Welfare Virsa Singh Valtoha, who expressed his deep anguish at the present state of veteran’s wife Salinder Kaur along with his 30-year-old handicapped son was living in state of virtual penury.
Valtoha appreciated the efforts of the State Director of Defense Services Welfare Brig Manjit Singh who took keen initiative to ensure respectable rehabilitation of the family. The relief and rehabilitation efforts by the State Government came after the Union Sports Minister has recently gave Rs two lakh from National Welfare Fund for Sportspersons to Makhan Singh’s wife.
The Minister had also approved ex-gratia lump-sum assistance to Salinder Kaur after knowing that the family of Makhan Singh was living in indigent circumstances. Besides, he also requested the Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to provide financial help and a State Government job to the family of Makhan Singh. Makhan Singh was the gold medalist in 4x400 metres relay in 1962 Asian Games. He was bestowed with Arjuna award in 1964 by President Dr S Radhakrishnan.