November 6, 2018 07:44 AM NPT
By: DIYA DHAKAL
KATHMANDU, Nov 6: Nepal Army has started limiting the number of portraits of army chiefs and division, battalion and brigade commanders that are traditionally hung at its barracks. The move comes within a couple of months after Purna Chandra Thapa took charge as the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS).
Following CoAS Thapa’s instructions, the army reportedly issued circulars to all its barracks asking them to limit the number of portraits of CoAS, division commanders, and battalion and brigade commanders in each barracks.
Army Spokesperson General Gokul Bhandari said the photo of only the sitting CoAS will be displayed in a barrack along with one lot of photos of the Chain of Command at that barracks. Bhandari said that rather than entirely eliminating the display of such portraits at army barracks which has been a long-standing tradition, measures were taken to decrease the number to a reasonable count.
Bhandari said that the previous trend was to display an estimated five photos in various offices of a single barracks which was deemed unnecessary by the current CoAS. However, according to Bhandari, the army will continue to hang the portraits of King Prithvi Narayan Shah and the Supreme Commander of Nepal Army at each barracks as per the tradition.
Bhandari stated that the number of gatherings has also been decreased. While the long-established traditions of holding annual gatherings such as Badakhana [big feast] and Barshikotsav [anniversary] will get continuity so as to uplift the soldiers’ morale, unnecessary celebrations during festivals will be avoided. Moreover, a selective guest list in accordance with the celebrations has so been prepared for convenience.
Nepal Army, which is beyond the jurisdiction of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, the constitutional anti-graft body, is often criticized for ‘doing business’. The army has been handling development projects, running a catering service inside the army headquarters, and operating petrol pumps, schools and colleges.
After taking charge, Army Chief Thapa stopped renting out army headquarters premises as party venue. The remaining ‘businesses’, however, are going on.