With far-reaching implications on the training and preparedness of the Army, the Ministry of Defence has approached the State government with a request to revoke its order on de-notification of the Bagdad Asmara Field Firing Range in Belgaum.
The HINDU writes that, M.S. Patil, public relations officer, Ministry of Defence, in an e-mail to The Hindu on Thursday, said that the Karnataka government suddenly de-notified the range prematurely vide GO No. RD:54:LGL:2011 dated November 23, 2012. Some glaring inexactitudes in the government order include the fact that the notification of the Range was under Section 9 of the ‘Manoeuvres Field Firing and Artillery Practice Act’, 1938, which provides for use of land for firing and Artillery practices throughout the year and not Section 2 (1) as incorrectly indicated in Para 6 of the government order.
It has been claimed that the GO no. RD 41:LGL:98 dated May 24, 2000 was issued without following the mandatory provisions of laws. If it is so, how did the successive State governments notify the Range without following the mandatory provisions of law since 1970 and how did the audit authorities never discover the anomaly. It is being perceived that Suresh Angadi, MP, who has constructed his institute for technology and management illegally on the notified area has been behind the de-notification. Also, the State government’s claim over Turkamatti Land in the same Government Order (dated November 23, 2012) is yet another conundrum difficult to unravel. The land was transferred to the Military Department vide Government Resolutions No. 4913 dated June 30, 1873 and No. 3242 dated June 9, 1875. As a result the Ministry of Defence is enjoying full rights, and portions of the land have been transferred for public purposes through ICMR (20 acres) and PWD (13 acres and 25 guntas) for which the transfer value was received by the Ministry of Defence. Even the court has upheld the ownership of the Army for this land in their recent judgment. The State government never questioned the Army’s rights over this land till the issue appeared to have been deliberately raised in conjunction with the designs on Bagdad Asmara Range.
It appears that some similar vested interest decided to have the issue raked up putting pressure on the State government to grab precious land.
The Army has also filed a case against Suresh Angadi Trust (represented by sole trustee Suresh Angadi, MP) for illegal construction of AITM in violation to the ‘Manoeuvres, Field Firing and Artillery Act, 1938’.