September 10: Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Purna Chandra Thapa has urged the public not to consider the Army’s undertakings such as the welfare fund, petrol station, road construction and other activities as profitable business.
Speaking on the occasion of his two years in office as the army chief, General Thapa on Wednesday said, “We are not doing business. Please don’t take it that way.”
At a time when the national army is facing criticism for its involvement in business undertakings, CoAS Thapa clarified that the income generated from the Army’s welfare fund, petrol station, and other activities is not pocketed by the generals but is utilized for charitable purpose.
“Our country has not reached that state in which it is able to provide us all the required services,” said Thapa, adding, “If we do not operate welfare fund, who is going to join the army?”
Thapa compared the activities of army’s welfare fund to the CSR activities of banks.
“The only difference is that the banks spend 1 percent on CSR while the army’s fund spends cent percent on CSR,” he added.
“Therefore, this is not a business.”
CoAS Thapa said that he has seen many of the retired soldiers working on road-side stalls in Bhotahity or begging on the streets of Narayangadh.
“It really saddens me. The need of the hour is to end such situation,” he said.
He also clarified that the army has not invested in hydropower as it has been publicized but they have only discussed the issue..
Thapa reiterated the army’s stance on zero tolerance towards corruption and added that the word “professionalism” better suits the army instead of “democratization” of army.