The last weeks mutiny by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) jawans has forced the senior officers of its Indian counterpart,the Border Security Force (BSF),to sit up and take note of the problems its jawans face in the line of duty.
Though officers said there was nothing to fear,they pointed out the disparity in pay and working conditions between the Army and the BSF,which forms the countrys first line of defence.
We have a very strong system and while one can never say with certainty that something similar will never happen here,we have faith in our jawans as they share a healthy relationship with the officers, said a senior BSF officer who did not wish to be named.
He said besides holding games like football and volleyball between the jawans and officers to build a sense of camaraderie between them,there is also a practice of vertical interaction,where everyone,from the IG down the line,including the group-D staff,sit down to discuss problems. Everyone participates in this to discuss the problems they are facing in their work, he said.
Moreover,the BSF also holds Sainik Sammelans during which senior officers visit the far-flung outposts to have interaction with the jawans. There are also nodal officers at various levels to hear out the grievances of the jawans and address them or to pass them on to higher level.
However,the officer said there are some rumblings within the BSF jawans after the removal of the posts of lance naik and naik by the Fifth Pay Commission.
Earlier,a jawan was gradually promoted to lance naik and naik before finally becoming a head constable in nearly 20 years. Now,they can directly be promoted to head constable but only after 20 years of duty. Moreover,there is a sharp discrepancy between the pay scales for the BSF and the Army. Even the perks they receive are far less than what the Army men get, the source said,adding the BSF jawans do not get peace postings the jawans in the Army get for three years after a two-year stint at the border. Ramajkrishnan,a former BSF IG (South Bengal Frontier),said,There is absolutely no family life for the BSF jawans,while the families of the army men get accommodation.
There are not enough schools take care of the educational needs of the children of the jawans.
While an Army battalion has four companies,the BSF one has seven.
There is no proper accommodation for the extra company. he said.