Saturday, 5 September 2009

Taj Palace offers army a "gesture of gratitude"













by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 5th Sept 09





Guests at New Delhi’s tony Taj Palace Hotel who come across army officers in their smart olive greens trooping through the foyer need have no apprehensions of a security alert. The army officers are more likely to be fellow-guests. An agreement between the Indian Army and Taj Hotels provides rooms at sharply reduced rates to mid-rung and senior army officers.

According to the agreement, generals will be entitled to rooms in the Taj Palace for Rs 5000/- per day. Brigadiers, colonels and lieutenant colonels visiting the capital, can stay, two officers to a room, by paying Rs 3000/- per day each.

That is exactly the amount the government pays as daily allowance (or DA, in government parlance) for officers of these ranks while visiting Delhi on temporary duty.

A letter from the army’s Additional Director General for Administration and Coordination informs all army officers that this agreement is valid from 15th August 09. Army officers staying at the Taj Palace Hotel will also be entitled to a buffet breakfast, tea and coffee facilities in their rooms, use of the hotel fitness centre, swimming pool and Jacuzzi and welcome drinks. As a final sweetener, they can get their uniforms ironed for free.

Sanjukta Roy, Director of Public Relations for Taj Hotels, told Business Standard, “This price slab has been offered as a gesture of gratitude to the army that serves the nation. Taj has the prerogative to decide its room prices. It also has the prerogative to offer varying prices for different segments.”

The hotel's rack or card rate is about $350 (roughly Rs 17,500/-) a night, though most tariffs and usually subject to negotiation.

The air force and the navy are not a part of this arrangement.

With army mess rooms in New Delhi hard to come by, accommodation at the Taj Palace Hotel will be welcome relief to mid-seniority officers who visit on temporary duty. And for the Taj Group, the dozens of officers moving in and out of the capital on temporary duty, will facilitate high room occupancy.

Army officers explain that this arrangement with Taj Hotels materialised after the Sixth Pay Commission raised the daily allowance for travelling officers’ accommodation, aligning it closer with market rates for quality hotels.

A room in an army mess, when available, comes fully equipped with staff, services and meals, but mess accommodation in Delhi is near impossible to obtain. Before the Sixth Pay Commission, DA was far below the tariff for a suitable hotel room, leaving visiting officers with few decent choices.

Following the Sixth Pay Commission, a letter dated 23rd Sept 2008 from the Additional Director General for Administration and Coordination raised the DA almost three-fold. Lieutenant colonels, colonels and brigadiers were granted a DA entitlement of Rs 3000/-; Major generals and above get a DA of Rs 5000/-; and majors and below, with a DA entitlement of just Rs 1500/- continue to have few accommodation options.

For military officers, who mounted a heated campaign for higher pay and allowances in the Sixth Pay Commission, this agreement with Taj Hotels goes some way towards alleviating perceptions that their status was being steadily eroded. However, officers point out, this arrangement is so far restricted to just one hotel in one city. Officers also complain that their allowances for meals and transport are unrealistically meagre. Their food entitlement in New Delhi is just Rs 300/- per day; in smaller cities and towns it is correspondingly reduced.

23 comments:

Himanshu said...

Why single out or "keep out" the Air Force and the Navy from this arrangement. By doing so, the sponsors of the facility may unintentionally drive a wedge in inter service relations."Defending the nation" is a common object and agenda of the three armed services.The pay structure also does not differentiate the status.A little more thought could have gone into the proposal.
Warm regards.

Anonymous said...

himanshu, this is more likely a reaction to the 26/11 events.

also, IAF and NAvy facilities for outstation officers are adequate.

Anonymous said...

May not be army specific. The same may apply to other services as well.

Anonymous said...

ajai has already written that it is army specific. don't you read ?

Anonymous said...

That is a good move. You didn't mention about the number of rooms available in that scheme. Certainly, they would have restricted that as they may not be interested in converting the hotel rooms into a mess.

Ashwin Baindur said...

It would be nice if the comments could be moderated for obscenity.

Baru said...

Ajai , what happend to LCA update. you returned from blr without lca update.. its starange..

Every one is waiting to hear from you.

KR said...

I suppose the Army officers travel with their weapons and ammunition. The hotel should be the safest place to stay when one is in Delhi.

Broadsword said...

I have deleted the obscenity from AK and Anonymous. The Broadsword policy is to refrain from moderating any comments, but we'll make an exception for the kind of disgusting exchange that we witnessed.

Visitors do recognize, I am sure, that the internet can't be sanitized. We will inevitably get all sorts of people posting on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Ajaiji, LCA and Kaveri update plz....

Anonymous said...

Thats really a good news. I remember how once while dining in the Battle Honor mess we planned a commando takeover of the neighboring Taj Palace and Maurya Sheraton hotels. Accommodation in Delhi was really a problem then. I spent a year with my family stuffed in a two room set at Battle Honor while guests to the mess were left sulking at lack of available rooms.

Anonymous said...

@ broadsword, I'm the anon who responded to AK. this was the only way to remove his post I think.

so, mission accomplished !

Anonymous said...

do we need this ajay jee please give info about our baby tejas

Anonymous said...

घोर अंधकार

"महाकाल" RULES OVER INDIA

Anonymous said...

Till you blogged about it, I thought that Army personnel had enough boarding facilities in where were they go.....

Himanshu said...

People really do need a start. This is called initiative. However now I feel responsible for the venom and disgust spewed over the blog.Well, the object of placing my views on the blog was to have more meaingful exchange of views on Ajay's story.No one is ever interested in finding how foul our minds are.Low mental tolerance, or absense of it.
What Taj have done, is also a similar exercise. Shown the way.Only if the way does not get littered in the manner this blog has gone so far.Anonymity is the garb of the incapable- remember.
Warm regards.

Anonymous said...

himanshu assuming your comment is directed at me(who responded to AK) I was the only one who objected to his "army dickheads" comments.

SO I really don't see people who aren't bothered by someone foulmouthing the army can ride the high horse !

sorry sir, you have no locus standi and certainly no moral right to criticise how I decide to object to foulmouthed fools like AK !

Himanshu said...

The blog I believe is a forum for free and meaningful exchange of views, and not for getting personal.My comment was indeed aimed at my own vacuuous intellect for having triggered the blog. There was, never an offence meant in what i said then or now. I am, in fact among the beneficiaries of the "Taj" proposal. So kindly do not assume so wrongly sir!

And Ajay! Old news is like stale bread. Getus something fresh.
Regards

Anonymous said...

himanshu, sorry for any hurried assumption on my part,
cheers !

Ace said...

I like the idea. Its time that. Army officers deserve the respect.

I would like it better if the offer was extended to the Taj hotels in Goa etc.

Anonymous said...

I am not from army background.I am working in corporate world but I highly respect army and army officers.I love them for their discipline and dedication.This initiative from Taj is great but their is a catch as set number of rooms will be available for this package and depending buss on books they will accordingly refuse or take the refuse the request.

Ashwin Baindur said...

@Anonymous 12:41

We understand that businesses will have their constraints. So I will not hold that against them. I am also sure that other hotels too will offer a similar package.

Thats already on in Pune with two hotels offering such services. If I am not wrong the Centaur near Delhi airport has also offered to accomodate Army officers on similar terms.

karim said...

Very thoughtfull post on gratitude. It should be very much helpfull

Thanks,
Karim - Mind Power