The Shimla Annandale ground would remain in possession of army as this was the only place which was open and suitable for strategic purposes and for conducting disaster relief and management exercises, said Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in a Civil Military Liaison Conference held at Western Command headquarters, Chandimandir, today.
The Chief Minister said the national security could not be ignored for ‘game and gimmicks’ as the proposal for cricket ground and stadium there would destroy the greenery and become like a concrete jungle. Over and above the ground was handed over to army after the Second World War from strategic point of view and was the only place where in times of emergencies helicopters could land and it would remain with the army for operational purposes. He said
“We are committed for security of the Country and I well realise the importance of the ground on account of defence services and for the very purpose it was handed over to the army for the sake of the Nation”
He said Himachal Pradesh had made substantial contribution to the armed forces of the Country and was considered as a State wherein there was a tradition that from every house one may serve in army or paramilitary forces.
The Chief Minister assured that the government would also support the efforts of army authorities for getting No Objection Certificates from various department for establishing Military Stations on land adjoining Una and Bilaspur districts as it would be in overall interest keeping in view the prevailing security scenario. The government will also support the cause of the army for other clearances assured the Chief Minister besides pursuing the same at various levels.
The issue pertaining to setting up of Canteen Stores Department (CSD) depot at Una was also discussed and the government urged army authorities to speed up the process in this regard and retake the matter with army headquarters.
Virbhadra Singh also agreed for providing land adjoining Indo-Tibet National Highway in tribal district of Kinnaur for Ammunition Point (AP). It was on demand of the army that land would be required for relocation of ammunition depot from Poari as Karcham hydroelectric Project is coming up in Area of responsibility (AOR) of the army.
The army authorities sought for allotment of equal ratio of land and of equal value in view of encroachment of five camping grounds by civil agencies in Nurpur, Shahpur, Jawali, Bharwain and Una.
The Chief Minister said the State Government would do everything possible and would stand by army and reinforce the existing ties more strongly. He said that the State had more than 1.10 lakh ex-servicemen, around one thousand fifty war widows and around 400 other widows and the Government was committed for the welfare of the serving and the ex-servicemen.