Annandale ground: Army, Himachal head for confrontation (Lead)April 15th, 2012 - 6:09 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, April 15 (IANS) The Indian Army and the Himachal Pradesh government appear to be heading for a confrontation over the strategically important Annandale ground here, which has been in possession of the army since World War II.
The army claims that the ground, just three km from Shimla’s Ridge, is of strategic significance for it from the national security perspective, whereas Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Sunday said “it’s under illegal occupation”.
“The Annandale ground is under illegal occupation of the army since the lease of the property had expired over 30 years ago,” said a statement quoting Dhumal.
Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), headed by Anurag Thakur, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and son of Dhumal, wants the ground’s transfer to the local administration for developing a multipurpose stadium there.
Dhumal’s assertions came after a Western Command statement said “the fact that Annandale ground is of strategic significance for the army from the national security perspective can never be ignored in favour of any game and gimmicks”.
The army clarified that “the ground is base for launching disaster management and relief operations”.
Local residents and sports associations under the banner of HPCA took out a public rally in Shimla April 7, demanding that the ground be restored to the local administration.
The army, however, said: “The strategic significance of Annandale as a forward logistic and operational base for operations in the sector adjoining Himachal Pradesh is being overlooked in preference for a cricket stadium.”
Tracing the ground’s history, it said a portion of Annandale was used by Durand Football Tournament Society instituted in 1888. This was taken over by the army during World War II to be used as a training camp.
“The land is in possession of the army ever since and is used for numerous military operational and logistic activities. In the past, the ground has been jointly used by the civil administration and the army for conducting disaster relief and management exercises,” it said.
Dhumal said that the ground issue was brought to the notice of the central government when the National Democratic Alliance-led government was in power.
“It was discussed with the then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then defence minister George Fernandes. At that time top army authorities were also present. It was decided to provide army alternate land to carry on various activities and vacate the ground for sports related activities,” he said.
The army is displaying its prowess in a disaster management exercise at Annandale Monday.
- Shimla ground row: Dhumal demands apology from army (Second Lead) - Apr 15, 2012
- Annandale ground: Army, Himachal head for confrontation - Apr 15, 2012
- Shimla's Annandale ground is of strategic significance: Army - Jan 31, 2012
- Many oppose stadium at Annandale, Shimla's green lung (With Images) - Apr 19, 2012
- Dhumal raises Shimla ground row in Delhi; Army says no conflict - Apr 16, 2012
- Dhumal raises Annadale ground row; Army beats hasty retreat (Lead) - Apr 16, 2012
- Civilian slip puts army on sticky ground in Himachal - Apr 17, 2012
- Himachal government in league with land mafia: Congress - Apr 17, 2012
- Dhumal meets PM as Army moves to resolve Annadale ground row (Second Lead) - Apr 16, 2012
- Himachal never planned stadium at Annandale ground: BJP - Apr 19, 2012
- Miffed Shanta wants action against corruption (Himachal Pradesh Newsletter) - May 04, 2012
- Annadale: Shanta Kumar says security important than stadium - Apr 18, 2012
- Himachal to get third cricket stadium - Dec 05, 2010
- Himachal cricket body officials get jail for match disruption - Oct 14, 2011
- Himachal Congress gives 'charge sheet' against BJP regime - Aug 23, 2012
Tags: assertions, chief minister, cricket association, cricket stadium, disaster management, football tournament, gimmicks, himachal pradesh government, illegal occupation, indian army, local administration, logistic activities, multipurpose stadium, operational base, public rally, relief operations, security perspective, sports associations, thakur, world war ii