A letter was allegedly written by the Commanding Officer (CO) of an infantry battalion to Bollywood actor Sonu Sood seeking help in procuring medical supplies and equipment for a COVID-19 facility has been making the rounds on social media. The incident has drawn sharp criticism towards the Indian Army and raised questions about their ability to tackle the pandemic.
The letter, dated May 13, read that the Army has been at the forefront of the ongoing pandemic and is in the process of setting up a 200-bed COVID care centre at the Jaisalmer Military Station. However, owing to limited availability of resources, the officer sought the actor's help in getting access to additional supplies that would help serve the patients.
He listed that there was a requirement of four ICU beds, 10 oxygen concentrators, 10 jumbo oxygen cylinders, one X-Ray machine and two 15 KVA generator sets. He requested Sood to lend a helping hand as part of the 'Corporate Social Responsibility' and that his generous act would be remembered.
Netizens React To The Letter
Netizens were quick to react to the letter particularly on Twitter.
However, speaking to The New Indian Express, a senior Army officer said, "It was over-enthusiastic behaviour by the officer but the intentions are right and were with an aim to get the facility started at the earliest. But this is not the way and it should not have been done. He should have waited for procurement through government funds."
"There is no shortfall in public funds," he added.
"The officer followed a procedure which is not as per the traditions in the Army as normally there is no dearth of resources for such requirements." Major General SB Asthana (Retd), Defence Analysts. He added that the officer's intentions were noble.