Shimla, June 13 IANS) Congress MP Anand Sharma has written to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh over the government’s proposed shifting of the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) from Shimla to Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.
In his letter on Wednesday, Sharma said he sought the Defence Minister’s intervention in view of the opinion of senior Army officers, including retired Service chiefs and strategic experts.
Shimla has been a strategic location of the Indian Army for almost 150 years and was the headquarters of the then Indian Army during the British period from 1864 to 1939, which included two World Wars in which the British Indian Army fought.
Tracing its glorious history, Sharma wrote: “After India’s Independence, the headquarters of the Western Command was located in Shimla during the India-Pak wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971, as well as the India-China war of 1962. The Western Command was shifted to Chandimandir only in 1985.”
Ever since its establishment in 1993, the Defence Ministry has over 27 years allocated a large amount of money and resources for ARTRAC.
Sharma, who belongs to this town, said shortage of accommodation after the merger of the Directorate General Military Training (DGMT) and ARTRAC was the logic behind the proposed shifting.
In fact, adequate infrastructure is available in the adjoining Jutogh cantonment.
The Congress Rajya Sabha MP said “there will be huge financial implications for relocating of these big institutions from Shimla to Meerut which will have negative effect on exchequer amounting to hundreds of crores and will not serve any purpose”.
Urging the Defence Minister to cancel the proposed shifting, Sharma said it would also adversely affect the economy of Shimla and the state.
Replying to a question by the opposition Congress, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on February 14 said he opposed the reported move to shift ARTRAC and will raise the issue with the Centre.
“The government will make every effort to ensure that the ARTRAC is not shifted out of Shimla. We will raise the matter strongly with the Centre,” Thakur had said.