Army Colonel serves legal notice over scrapping of free rations to officers
A colonel has served a legal notice to defence secretary Sanjay Mitra over the scrapping of free rations to army officers serving in non-conflict areas and giving a “paltry sum” instead.
The government’s decision to give an allowance of Rs 96 for daily purchases in place of paid-for rations to the officers in peace areas from this July has triggered resentment.
Colonel Mukul Dev said he joined the army after weighing in all the service terms that clearly stated free rations.
Soldiers continue to draw free rations in both peace and field areas.
“There was no mention of provision of cash in lieu of free rations in the notification… The decision of yours has violated the basic terms and conditions of my service upon which I was employed and commissioned and that too without obtaining any written consent from me,” read the notice dated July 1.
He said if the order was not revoked within 60 days, he would move court.
The colonel from the army’s legal branch is posted as the deputy judge advocate general of a corps headquarters in Rajasthan.
Several army officers spoke against the decision, saying free rations met the requirements of a small family but the cash allowance is too little for even one person.
Lieutenant general (retd) SPS Katewa, who is from the Army Service Corps (ASC) and has dealt with the case, admitted that Rs 96.03 a day is a measly amount. The ASC is responsible for procurement of rations. “The rate was worked out by factoring in the army’s all-India existing procurement rates. Those rates are low as we buy in bulk. It would have been better if it was based on existing retail rates that would be around Rs 250 a day,” he said.