The Union home ministry has in a report to the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday said it has found no substance in a complaint by Border Security Force jawan Tej Bahadur Yadav 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.
A video by Yadav complaining about the quality of food had gone viral, triggered a flurry of reactions with the PMO also seeking a detailed factual report on the incident.
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 the 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.
In a communication to the BSF, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Central Industrial Security Force, the Sashastra Seema Bal, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the National Security Guard and the Assam Rifles, the ministry has asked them to conduct an independent inquiry once a complaint from any jawan is received on any matter and try to resolve it as early as possible.
The seven central paramilitary forces have been asked to inform their personnel about the existing grievance redressal cell and register complaints, if any, without fear, official sources said.
The forces were also asked to ensure that jawans making complaints were not harassed by their superiors.
The paramilitary forces were told to accept complaints through e-letters. Among the seven central paramilitary forces, one has already started receiving the complaints through e-letter, while the other six have been told to follow suit, sources said.
Yadav, wearing camouflage uniform and carrying a rifle in the video, claimed that while government procures essentials for them, the higher-ups and officers ‘sell it off’ in an ‘illegal’ manner in the market and the personnel have to suffer.
He also posted other videos in which he claimed that the quality of food served was not good.
Meanwhile, the Delhi high court on Friday fixed January 16 for hearing a plea seeking a status report from the MHA following on Yadav’s complaint.
A bench headed by Chief Justice G Rohini fixed the matter for January 16 as it did not assemble.
The plea was filed by Puran Chand Arya, a former central government employee.
The public interest litigation sought direction to the MHA to submit a status report with respect to all paramilitary forces in India over allegations of the BSF jawan in his video, which went viral on social media.
Citing the fundamental Right to Equality (Article 14) and Life (Article 21), the PIL filed through advocate Abhishek Kumar Choudhary highlights the allegations about insufficient and bad quality of food provided to jawans.
It seeks action on the incident so that the morale of the force is not affected and also asks for clarity on ration procurement, food preparation and servings to various categories of officers.
The PIL has sought direction to depute higher officers to supervise cooking of proper healthy food and its distribution.