Ex-army officers rarely receive services from SKS

July 31, 2010

BBC documentary told
Although Sena Kalyan Sangstha (SKS) is a philanthropic organisation whose only duty is to ensure welfare, former army officers and their family members rarely receive any advantages from SKS, reported the BBC radio documentary “Probaho” yesterday.
The documentary titled “Fouji Banijjo” (Military in Business) revealed that many former army officials complained they do not get benefit from SKS mainly due to bureaucratic tangles that rule the institution.
The welfare activities of SKS usually include education and training scholarships, medical treatment and financial assistance to widows of army personnel. How much money was spent in these sectors in last 38 years has never been made public, reported the weekly documentary in its third episode.
Some former army officers said 80 percent of their officials are not aware of SKS and its duty at all while only 2 percent might have got some benefit from it.
“I went to SKS to receive assistance for my liver diseases but the authority SKS said that their book does not have any instruction regarding treatment of liver diseases except cancer and diabetes,” sergeant (retd) MA Ohab told the documentary.
“Havilder Bachchu and I went to SKS for a job at first for us and later for our children. We maintained all the formalities in this regard and waited for two years,” said nayek (retd) Fazlul Karim.
“At last when we got the chance to meet the high-ranked officials of SKS, they suggested us to wait. We have waited for two more years and another wait for two to four years will land us in our graves,” he added.
The army personnel alleged that 60 percent of the army officers and their families, who live in villages, do not come to SKS for any kind of assistance. But SKS even cannot meet the needs of the rest 40 per cent living in the cantonment.
They also complained that the process of applying for assistance starting from drawing application form is so complicated, full of harassment and time consuming that most army officers prefer not to continue the process.
The documentary, prepared by Kamal Ahmad, also mentioned that SKS made a profit of Tk 36 crore in 2007 while the growth on this annual profit was 30 percent in 2008.
Despite several attempts, the BBC could not get any official comment either from SKS board of trustees or its managing director or the army chief.
The SKS was established under Philanthropic Organisation Act, 1890 with an aim to provide welfare to the former army personnel from the income of the organisation’s profit and its properties, the documentary said.
It also reported that currently three flourmills of SKS meet one eighth of the demand of flour in Bangladesh.

Courtesy of The Daily Star

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