Inside a mess: All’s kosher with army rations and BSF cooks?

Hard locations along the Line of Control, such as the one at which constable Tej Bahadur Yadav served, come under the operational command of the Indian Army. This means that rations are supplied by the Army and cooked by BSF’s jawans assigned the duties of a mess commander and mess 2IC (in-charge).
According to BSF sources, jawans get a monthly food allowance of `2,905 each and the cost of their breakfast, lunch, dinner with tea and dessert comes to about `95 per day.

Non-vegetarian jawans get chicken four times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Vegetarians get paneer curry four times a week. Since paneer and chicken are considered slightly heavier on the tummy, they are served only for lunch. For dinner, they get dal, one curry, roti, rice and salad. Dessert is a kheer. Jawans are served tea every morning and parantha and pickle or curds and egg for breakfast. In winter, tea is served four times a day. In summers, it is lime juice.

The BSF has internal mechanisms to keep food tasty. At roll-call every evening, jawans assemble before the company commander to discuss various issues, including food, family problems, personal issues, duties, etc., a company commander in BSF told The New Indian Express.

The jawans get to select their own mess commander. “All jawans are called and an oral voting takes place to select the mess commander and mess 2IC. This exercise takes place every month (around the 24th or 25th of the month). This way, if a mess commander is not up to the mark, he is out the next month,” a BSF jawan said.

Sources said there are other internal mechanisms. “For complaints against their company commander, the commandant can be approached. If there are issues with the commandant or any higher-up, any BSF personnel can bring the issues concerned through the grievances portal of the BSF which can even reach the director general. Besides this, jawans can also write letters to anyone. 

“I am surprised that leaving aside all these options, Tej Bahadur Yadav uploaded the videos online,’’ said a BSF official, posted along the LoC in Jammu region.

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