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Army fixes guest room bug after furore Officers can book online, no NAC needed, basic facilities listed

December 24, 2018 05:13 AM

COURTESY THE TRIBUNE DEC 24

Army fixes guest room bug after furore
Officers can book online, no NAC needed, basic facilities listed
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 23

Under flak on the social media, the Army has come out with fresh policy on how Army guest rooms, located across the country in Cantonments and Military Stations, will be allotted to officers. It has simplified the procedure, making it an online booking process.
Three key points of discontent — expressed over the past eight months — have been removed in the letter issued by the Quarter Master General (QMG) branch of the Army headquarters on December 12.

Eight months ago, the Army had asked officers to stay in Army guesthouses instead of hotels. However, complaints have been pouring in and these touched three basic issues: the procedure to book a room in guesthouses; lack of basic amenities and the need to procure a “non-availability certificate” (NAC) in case no room is available.


Only after an NAC is issued that an officer can avail a hotel stay. Without the same, the travel expenses are not cleared by the accounts wing.

As per the new instructions issued by the QMG and sent to all Army Commands, no guest room will be earmarked as per rank or appointment and booking will be made on a first-come-first-served basis.

To address the issue of amenities, the rooms have been slotted in three categories, each with a fixed tariff. The facilities will include easy access power points for mobile and laptop charging and basic yet comfortable bedding. The expense for eatables, food, drinks will be as per actual costs. Every six months the local military station will fix a menu and food costs.

The requirement for an office to procure an NAC certificate if no guest room is available has been done away with. The local military station has been authorised to issue a “detention certificate” — a kind of duty certificate that records the presence of the officer in a particular station while on temporary duty.

In case the guest room is not available, the same will be mentioned on the “detention certificate”, thus reducing paperwork and easing out resultant accounting issues.

The policy clarifies that it does not supersede the entitlement of officers to stay in hotels while on temporary duty. There has been an online storm as officers have been posting pictures of guest rooms that lacked even basic bedding.

Key concerns addressed

Eight months ago, Army had asked officers to stay in Army guesthouses instead of hotels, prompting backlash online
It was flooded with complaints on procedure to book a room, lack of basic amenities and mandatory ‘non-availability certificate’ if no room is available
A letter sent to all Army Commands says booking will be made on a first-come-first-served basis, rooms will have three categories and NAC will be replaced by ‘detention certificate’, which records officer’s presence at a station while on temporary duty

 
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