Reduce officers-soldiers gap: PM

The prime minister has stressed the need for reducing the 'huge' gap between the army officers and the soldiers.

Addressing formation commanders at the Dhaka Cantonment on Sunday, Sheikh Hasina also asked all concerned in the Armed Forces to ensure the chain of command.

"Still, there's a huge gap between the officers and the soldiers in terms of their social status and financial benefits, and it has to be reduced," she said.

There is discrimination in areas like accommodation, medicare, food and children's study and in giving punishment for breaking discipline, said Hasina, also the defence minister. "The discrimination has to be addressed as there is no scope to take the issues lightly."

About discipline in the army, she said, "It's the duty of all members of the armed forces to maintain the chain of command.… It has to be ensured."

The juniors have to abide by the instructions of their senior while the seniors have to take care of their juniors, she added.

The two-time prime minister told the senior officials: "I want to see the army respectful to democracy and to be the vanguards of the Constitution. So honest, qualified and meritorious officers have to be promoted, and the ability should be taken into consideration during recruitments."

She also called upon the armed forces to protect the country being imbued with the spirit of the Liberation War.

About the price hike of essentials, she said it was the impact of the unusual price hike of food grains in the international market.

"… even after that we have been ensuring the supply of rice in low prices through various programmes like OMS and distribution of fair price cards, considering the sufferings of the common people," Hasina said.

The price of rice was Tk 45 per kilogram when the present government came to power and it was brought down to Tk 18-20, she said.

The programme was also attended by the army chief, formation commanders, principal staff officer of the army headquarters and high military officials.

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