Following the state of CSD canteens, ex-servicemen has decided to boycott the canteens on 15th July in protest
Canteen Stores Department (CSD), a unit of the Indian armed forces, runs canteen stores all over the country with an objective of providing consumer goods to serving soldiers and ex-servicemen at a price cheaper than prevailing market price. However, ex-servicemen (ESM) say that the quality of service provided by these canteens has gone down over the last two years. To highlight the deplorable state of CSD canteens, a boycott is being planned on 15 July 2012.
Cdr Ravindra Pathak (Retd) laments the current service levels of CSD canteen which has forced many ex-servicemen, who have served the country for a long time, to buy various goods from the open market, without any concessions. According to Cdr Pathak, canteen services are shifted now from Army (QMG Branch) to Ministry of Defence (MoD), which often ignore ESM community. As per new CSD Policy the ESM community is being alienated. This problem is not only for the veterans and the ESM, but also for the serving soldiers and canteen employees as well. Cdr Pathak highlighted and described the sad state of affairs of CSD below:
" Car sales through CSD Canteen have been stopped since last more than one year. There are only very few special cases which are accepted at MoD level by its civilian staff (as per MoD/QMG L/dt 22/2/12). A common ESM has no access to this facility (of scooter/ motor cycle), due to the problematic CSD Depot system. Similarly, there has been difficulty in procuring electronics items like TV, fridge, air-conditioners, etc.
" Against Firm Demand (AFD) purchase facilities are also choked up and facing the same CSD Depots system. Even though an ESM pays in advance for each item they purchase, the CSD Depots cites funds, or lack of it, as the main excuse. Thus, the ESM community is being forced to buy these items from the open market.
" The CSD General Store's purchase, stocking and sale has been clamped down financially at CSD Depot level and at URCs (Unit Run Canteens) as well. As a result, most of the URCs stock level has come down tremendously. The CSD often gives a deserted look after two-three days' sale. Most of the ESM do not reach their purchase quota ceiling limits. ESM strength is increasing but facilities level is decreasing day by day.
" ESM Welfare Dept (EWD) in MoD rarely proved useful to ESM community. It always opposes AFP in each and every case. To deny few hundred rupees concession to the ESM community, the MoD is spending lakh of rupees to contest in the Supreme Court. EWD plays no positive role on their Grievances and appeals.
Cdr Pathak says that the bureaucracy is in the habit of blaming the ESM community for misusing the facilities. However, he notes that the staff of MoD sits in Delhi and enjoys all CSD/liquor facilities, while a braving soldier posted in Siachen is also entitled to the same facilities. He feels that the Armed Forces Personnel (AFP) are one of the most dedicated lot but are still dependent on others for their most deserving welfare measures, and the same would apply to the ESM community. A letter had been sent to the Joint Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee residing in South Block, to restore the sanctity of CSD and bring back the hassle-free service available to the ESM, and put their operations into the hands of the army, particularly ESM rather than the MoD.