• Some Army officers forget they were gentlemen once
  • AWHO Indirapuram Ghaziabad politics made  murky by vested interests

By Sangeeta Saxena

New Delhi. 14 October 2020. It couldn’t have been worse and more shameful.  In a group housing society of army veterans, civilian hooligans of all age groups, including women, instigated by a set of retired officers who are residents of the society, created  ruckus by shouting slogans, yelling pushing and threatening the legal Executive Committee members.

And all this because the legal administrative body well within it’s rights, had after giving a prior notice, terminated the services of an incompetent, manager who is a retired Havaldar Driver from the Army Service Corps, who was incapable of doing office work but had made a huge coterie in the residents by creating personal rapport, this journalist was told by the members.

What ever be the reason, it was painful to see the decorum of a disciplined Army housing society being sent down the drain by some of their own retired officers supported and led by civilians who were surprisingly from Government of India services, public  sector and private sector, of all ages some still serving and some retired. This manager was replaced by a qualified and efficient professional who had done  similar jobs earlier. Surprising that the Army officers who always settle for the best and never compromise on efficiency and sincerity were here supporting a man who agreed that he was getting old, forgot things, could not use computer for office work , couldn’t draft letters and minutes of meetings , was not capable of doing the routine jobs of an office manager but did not want to leave his seat. Which means there were vested interests for which the majority of the society members wanted and inefficient worker to continue. And all this was preceded by a door to door signature campaign assigned to ladies of the society, which was the result of a meeting of more than twenty ladies held at a senior Colonel’s house. Is such petty politics warranted in a society which was made by the Indian Army, with the Army’s money for the Army officers to give them a  peaceful life after their heavy professional life?

Army Welfare Housing Organisation is a society formed in December 1978 under the Indian Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860. The aim and objective of the Organisation is to construct houses for serving/retired Army personnel and their widows in selected stations throughout the country. Adjutant-General of the Indian Army is the ex-officio chairman of AWHO and the board of governors is entirely constituted of senior army officers.

AWHO has given HOMES to those fighting and serving in tough areas and inhospitable terrain. Time is a scarce commodity for the serving soldiers and often their own welfare/personal affairs take a back seat while keeping national security as priority. AWHO remains dedicated in it’s mission to provide structurally sound, economically viable and functionally efficient dwelling units to the desirous serving/retired members of the Army and their widows on ‘NO PROFIT NO LOSS’ basis in the selected popular stations. Endeavour of AWHO has always been to deliver good quality construction with environment friendly ambiance to its allottees. But most army officers with flats here have either sold off or are on the verge off doing so, because most of the children of these officers have settled in other cities or abroad. Secondly, they are buying apartments in new builder societies as families have grown and bigger houses are needed.

Civilians who like the security and ambience of an AWHO colony and want to proudly tell the world they stay in an army society have been on a buying spree and renting vacant flats here. But once they are inside they do not want to follow discipline and rules, neither want to maintain decorum. Most of them do not want to follow the COVID-19 protocols in current pandemic times. So the Executive Committee has become the target and these rowdy residents are firing from behind the terminated Manager’s shoulder.

On 11th October evening a mob of residents came  to the administrative office, forcefully took over the keys of the office by removing the new manager. When the executive committee members came to know they went down and where they were not only mobbed, shouted at, threatened but also mocked by the women with slogans. The senior veterans who were with the mob smartly stayed behind and let civilians create goonda-raj.

And the icing on this rotten cake was that without taking cognizance of the UP Apartment Act , three veterans with four civilians from this mob declared themselves as the new Executive Committee making mockery of government rules and regulations. Registrar of Societies should take remedial action on this development. Sad to see veterans made puppets in the hands of these civilians and dancing happily to their tunes.