Srinagar: With regard to non-availability of any firing range in Jammu and Kashmir, Indian Army has castigated State Government by stating that after the clearance of Tosa Maidan Field Firing Range (TFFR), a large number of restrictions have been imposed on the Indian Army with respect to availability of ranges in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In their reply to National Green Tribunal, Defence Ministry through Northern Command has said that their adversaries on both the Western and Eastern borders unlike them have unfettered access to firing ranges and the situation they are facing in Jammu and Kashmir will likely to have an adverse impact on the preparedness of Indian Armed Forces vis-à-vis their adversaries.
The non-availability of a range in the Kashmir region has now compelled the Army to move the troops and the heavy equipment to far off ranges at Babina, Madhya Pradesh and Mahajan Rajasthan. Training troops in terrain and climatic conditions completely differ from those prevailing in strategically important Kashmir, the reply from Defence Ministry through Northern Army Command to the Principal Bench National Green Tribunal said.
Army according to CNS furnished its reply in response to a petition filed by Right to Information activist Dr Raja Muzaffar Bhat who had sought details about the notifying of Bajpathree as firing range.
Army has added that the State Government of Jammu and Kashmir offered the area of Bajpathree for notifying as an alternative field firing ranges. It said that the detailed study and reconnaissance was carried out by Army along with Air Force followed by joint study with the various state government authorities to study the requirement of land, the environmental impact and effect on tourism. The final decision to notify the ranges will be that of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Army in its reply before the Tribunal has claimed that it had taken utmost care of Tosamaidan during the period of notification to maintain the ecology of the area and no damage or destruction has been reported. It is because of the conservation efforts of the Army that Tosamaidan range continues to be in pristine condition and has become a major tourist attraction, the Army stated. (CNS)
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