RAOWA: My sweet second home

--Lt Col Amir Azam Khan (Retd)

During service life all Armed Forces Officers have a defined office to sit and perform his duties and responsibilities. During service everyday we meet officers both serving and retired. While in active service it seldom came to my mind that I would have to retire one day. The very fact that “Every serving officer has to retire one day” did not touch my mind in that way because of the “sharpu” (tension) of completing the assigned task on time. One day that moment came in my life when I retired from service after serving for about 30 years.

The retirement feeling, is of rest and no work. It is just like “nothing like anything”. Retired officers rendezvous becomes the bank, CSD, CORO, CMH etc. One day one of my course mate told me to become the member of RAOWA where I can meet with lot of officers and spend my leisure time comfortably. I became the member and got the feeling of just like being at home.

I looked for references, evidences, articles of RAOWA, how it was founded, who all were related with it, in other word the history of RAOWA. I had collected and gone through different articles available in the library, written by some of the founder members, talked to senior members to get to know the contribution of concerned members to unveil them.

The history of RAOWA is a long history of evolution. Presently what we see as RAOWA was first formed in the name of Ex-Defense Association, EDA by a few officers. Later on EDA was merged with Defence Officer Retired Association (DORA) which existed in the mid sixties under the Chairmanship of Late Maj Gen Abdul Majid, Late Gen M A G Osmani was also associated with that organization. Subsequently during the early seventies the body was reorganized under the new Chairmanship of Late Commodore Rashid.

A long time elapsed and DORA could not generate any substantial activities. For this reason a few officers left DORA and formed association in the name of Retired Army, Officers Association (RAOA). Lt Gen khwaja Wasiuddin, HQA, SPK, idc, psc became the first Chairman of the new association. On persuasion the army authority allotted initially one acre of land. When lease documents were sent to Ministry of Defense (MOD) for finalization, the MOD advised to change the name from Army Officers to Armed Froces Officers involving three services. Accordingly the name was amended and finally became Retired Armed forces Officers Welfare Association (RAOWA): what we call it today. During preparation of layout plan it was found that some additional land was required to execute the plan. When the then Honourable President Hussain Muhammed Ershad was approached he allotted one bigha of land totaling to 4 bighas.

The more I wanted to know the more I got involved, I found that there was a piece of land purchased by RAOWA at Inani Beach, Cox’s Bazar. But how? Going through various papers, documents and interviewing concerned members, I found that it was during early 2009 by the initiative of Ex-Secretary General Col Md. Shah Jahan Mollah, psc and the dynamic decision on the part of Ex Chairman Brig Gen Md. Moazzem Hossain, psc along with the active support of all Executive Members the proposal in the 4th EC Meeting held on 17 mar 2009 was approved. Accordingly an Extra Ordinary General Meeting was called on 30 Oct 2009 to pass the resolution as the price of the land was Tk. 11 lac which was not within the limit of EC. So RAOWA is not only at Dhaka but RAOWA is at shore also.

 

A decision was taken in the 8th EC meeting held on 18 Sep 2012 to send Jt. Secy to see the present state of the plot. Accordingly I visited the place and prepared a report for all members of the Executive Committee of RAOWA which would serve as a document for future reference. The land is located approximately 32.5km south of Cox’s Bazar and is about 6.5 km south of ‘Bay Watch’. a resort of Army Welfare Trust. It is adjacent to and falls on the eastern side of Marine Drive. An easy way of locating the plot for new visitor is to hit the cyclone shelter “Ruppati.” The land is measuring about .2666 acre. I fixed a sign on the plot as a mark of occupation, though RAOWA has employed a caretaker to look after. At the moment I don’t feel what I felt after retirement. I have increased my number of associates amongst the armed forces. Everyday I look for new ideas to improve upon my Sweet Second Home. RAOWA I Love you.