Retired generals, colonels still occupy about 100 army homes

Retired generals, colonels still occupy about 100 army homes

The army has opened a call centre to receive complaints from soldiers around the clock. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
The army has opened a call centre to receive complaints from soldiers around the clock. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The army has revealed that about 100 army houses are still occupied by military retirees for various reasons, while a new call centre has opened to receive complaints from soldiers around the clock.

Deputy army chief Gen Nattapol Nakpanit said an initial survey showed that retired high-ranking officers -- holding ranks ranging from general to colonel -- still remained at about 100 military homes in central areas. Some retired non-commissioned officers were also being allowed to stay in military housing. In the provinces, there were no problems regarding retired officers staying at military housing, he said.

The deputy army chief admitted it was hard to answer the question of whether retired military officers or active officers should be allowed to remain at military homes, and authorities had to take various factors into consideration. 

Although additional military houses had been built to accommodate officers, the number of new homes was limited due to budget constraints.

In some cases, senior military officers who had served in border areas or fought on battlefields for the sake of the country had nowhere to stay when they returned, said Gen Nattapol, adding that the army had to show flexibility regarding military housing rules.

He said he would not answer a question about why retired generals had no homes, saying it was a personal matter.

The call centre set up on Tuesday for soldiers to directly lodge complaints with Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong would remain open around the clock, said Gen Nattapol. Their problems would be addressed and reported to the army chief.

Under normal procedure, soldiers are able to lodge complaints up the chain of command to their commanding officers and then to the army chief through the Office of the Army Secretary, said the deputy army chief.

In the wake of the shooting rampage in Nakhon Ratchasima, the army has opened a direct channel between solders and the army chief as society felt junior soldiers were sometimes maltreated by their superiors, he said.

Staff from a private firm, not military officers, would receive complaints via the call centre. Complainants could give their names, ranks and positions to the centre. The complaints and other details would then be put in sealed envelopes before being forwarded to the army chief. The information would be kept confidential, said Gen Nattapol.

On fears among soldiers that they would not be safe if their superiors learned that complaints had been lodged against them, Gen Nattapol said the army chief would transfer accused commanders, adding that Gen Apirat has recently transferred several commanders.

During his recent visit to soldiers and families at their units following the gun rampage in Nakhon Ratchasima, Gen Nappol felt many officers were viewed negatively by the public.

“The army has about 200,000 soldiers. About 2-3 people were involved in the (shooting rampage) incident, but 200,000 soldiers also receive the blame,’’ said the deputy army chief.

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