New Delhi, Jan 16: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has sought a report over the short supply of medals which have forced soldiers to buy duplicate ones from the market.
Defence sources said the situation has been such that only a handful of medals have been officially issued over the last 7-8 years while over 10 lakh are pending. "The Defence Minister has sought a report on the situation and why it has not been issued for so many years," a source said.
The medals are for various achievements including bravery, distinguished service among others. The favourite place for soldiers to get the duplicates of their hard-earned medals is Gopinath Bazaar in the Delhi Cantonment. The difference between the original and the duplicate is that the name of the soldier and his badge number is engraved beneath the real one.
Sources said while those medals awarded at investiture ceremonies were available, lakhs of others awarded over the years are not. This includes those given for completing a certain number of years in service, serving in difficult areas or taking part in some operation.
The Medals Department of Defence Ministry is responsible for issue of these awards that soldiers wear during ceremonial functions, sources said, adding that non-availability was due to some financial constraints.