NEW DELHI: The move by an Indian Army Commanding Officer stationed in the Western Sector to seek assistance from Bollywood actor and philanthropist Sonu Sood has been termed as "over-enthusiastic" and avoidable despite being well-intentioned by official quarters.
The Commanding Officer in a letter had apprised Sood about the plans to come up with a 200-bedded Covid Care Centre at the Jaisalmer Military Station.
Disapproving the step, a senior Army officer said, "It was over-enthusiastic behaviour by the officer but the intentions are right and were with an aim to get the facility started at the earliest. But this is not the way and it should not have been done. He should have waited for procurement through government funds.
"There is no shortfall in public funds," he added.
In the letter to Sood, the officer had written, "With the limited resources available with us, there is a requirement of additional equipment. The equipment mentioned in the letter, to be provided under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), included 04 ICU beds, 10 oxygen concentrators, 10 jumbo oxygen cylinders (7000 lts), 01 X-Ray machine and 02 generator sets and 1 KVA."
The Army will remain ever grateful to Sood for his generous act, the officer wrote.
Major General SB Asthana (Retd), Defence Analysts said, "The officer followed a procedure which is not as per the traditions in the Army as normally there is no dearth of resources for such requirements." But the intentions were noble, said Asthana.
Another officer said, "Such behaviors can have long term effect as tomorrow a letter could be written to a political figure or the intention might be to gain publicity. Normally the tradition is we approach the senior officers in the hierarchy for additional resources who even have emergency financial powers to meet the emergency requirements."
The Army has provisions for such emergency procurements and the Army Commanders and Corps Commanders have been given financial powers to approve them.