Committee To Look Into Kashmir Firing Range Issue

Committee To Look Into Kashmir Firing Range Issue

12 November 2013
Firstpost


Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday announced the setting up of a committee headed by the state chief secretary to look into the use of a controversial area of land as a firing range by the army. Villagers have been protesting the use of the Tosha Maidan area in central Badgam district. Tensions have been rising as villagers argue that the firing range was posing a threat to their lives and property. Chairing a civil-military liaison conference at Nagrota in Jammu district, the chief minister emphasised the need for strengthening the liaison to address speedily and amicably issues concerning the two. He constituted a committee headed by state Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khandey to look into various land-related cases. In the case of the Tosha Maidan firing range, it was decided that a committee under the chairmanship of the chief secretary will look into all aspects of the matter and suggest various viable options. Abdullah appreciated and commended the role of the army in protecting the country and safeguarding the people from external and internal threats as also rendering invaluable service during calamities and other challenges. Abdullah said working closely with each other would mean addressing issues and forging a way ahead despite differences in positions of the army and civil administration on various issues. Working in tandem acts as a catalyst to find out workable solutions, he added. The meeting discussed various issues pertaining to human welfare, ex-gratia relief, de-mining of areas, construction of roads, land acquisition, infrastructure development and other subjects concerning grant of tax relief and enhancement of financial assistance to ex-servicemen who participated in World War II. Abdullah said the civil-military liaison conference was the right forum to work out measures and strategies to address all issues between the civil and military administration. He gave the nod to enhancing financial assistance from Rs.1,500 to Rs.3,000 per month in favour of participants and widows of those who had taken part in World War II. The chief minister gave directions for providing hassle-free and equal compensation by the army to the affected civilians. The conference was attended by Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Financial Commissioner (Revenue) Arun Kumar, Director General of Police Ashok Prasad, Principal Secretary (Planning and Development) B.R. Sharma and other senior officers.