Use grievance box, not social media, says Army Chief
The disturbing reality check on the ground for the personnel posted in difficult terrain, border outposts and tackling militancy have made the authorities sit up and take note.
The Home Ministry has in a report to the Prime Minister’s Office Friday said it has found no substance in a complaint by a BSF jawan that poor quality rations were given to security personnel posted along the border, asserting “there was no widespread discontent” in constabulary over food.
In the report, the Home Ministry conveyed to the PMO that there was no shortage of rations at any post in paramilitary forces and quality check is being conducted regularly.
The PMO has been told that “there is no widespread discontent in constabulary over food in any paramilitary force”, official sources said.
The PMO has been told that BSF has maintained that there was no shortage of rations at any post and security personnel deployed along the border never complained about food.
The border guarding force also came out with fresh guidelines for maintaining high quality of food for its personnel.
The PMO has been conveyed that the Home Ministry has directed the paramilitary forces to take all complaints of jawans seriously and corrective steps should be taken to improve their working conditions and food, the sources said.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday sought a report from the home ministry about BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav’s allegation that poor-quality food being served to paramilitary troops at border areas.
After the videos of BSF jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav went viral on social media, another clip posted by a CRPF constable surfaced on Thursday wherein the trooper has demanded “parity” for paramilitary personnel in pay and other benefits at par with the army.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), country’s largest paramilitary said it had taken “cognisance” of the issues raised by the jawan, who identified himself in the video as Jeet Singh.
Disturbed over these developments, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Friday asked his men to directly communicate to him through the “suggestion cum grievance” boxes that will be set up across the formations.
His remarks came a day after an army jawan posted a video on social media criticising the use of soldiers as ‘sahayaks’ of the officers.
However, Gen Rawat made it clear that ‘sahayak’ or ‘buddy’ system is very important part of the army but he is in talks with the government to look at the possibility of doing it away in peace stations.
He said that army personnel, rather than indirectly communicating their grievances, should use the “excellent” grievances redressal system existing in the force.
Gen Rawat described social media as a “two-sided” weapon which can be used favourably but can also be detrimental.
“I would like to announce that I have issued orders that in every army headquarters, we will have a chief of army staff suggestion-cum-grievance box placed at various places. We will follow suit with similar COAS redressal-cum-suggestion boxes being placed at command headquarters and then subsequently to lower formation,” he said addressing his annual press conference here.
Assuring full confidentiality, the Army chief said anyone, irrespective of ranks or service, can use this mechanism to put whatever they wish to write into these letter boxes so that grievances can reach him directly.
Gen Rawat said the soldiers should write to him with names but he will ensure that the names of the personnel are deleted before any action is taken.
“We would like that people come directly to us rather than resorting to the social media or other means. Let the troops have the confidence in the senior leadership of the army that their grievances, genuine of otherwise, will be addressed in right earnest. If dissatisfied, they can use other means,” he said.