Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Army was not in favour of building Yamuna bridges; defence ministry overruled it’s written representation



By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 23rd Mar 16

The army conveyed in writing to the defence ministry its reservations against building six bridges for the so-called World Cultural Festival (WCF) organised by spiritual teacher Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living (AOL) Foundation from March 11-13. The army regarded the WCF as “a private function”.

Yet the defence ministry over-ruled the army’s written representation, ordering first one, and then two, bridges to be constructed over the Yamuna, for what it regarded as a “public function.”

Business Standard has accessed the army’s letter to the defence ministry, which was written in the third week of February, conveying the personal decision of the army chief. The letter cited three clear arguments why operational army bridges should not be used for a private event.

The army’s first objection was that the bridging equipment was stored across various army cantonments. Bringing the components together and then transporting them to Delhi would require a major logistical effort and expense.

The second reason was that these bridges comprised valuable operational equipment, which had a finite service life in terms of the number of times they could be launched. The army argued that this limited service life should be safeguarded for war.

The third reason cited by the army was the impropriety of deploying military troops for what it considered a private function.

While overruling these objections, the defence ministry explicitly took the view that the WCF was a public function. It conveyed to the army that a private function was one “organised by a private individual, for private purposes, in private premises.”

It told the army that, where large public attendance was expected for a function that the government had officially cleared, it would have to take responsibility for public safety, traffic control, crowd control, etc.

With the defence ministry effectively overruling the army’s objections, the generals say they took on the job whole-heartedly “in the spirit with which it built bridges for the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, and organised the annual Amarnath Yatra”.

An engineer regiment from Meerut was moved to build and maintain the bridges, while equipment was transported from a large number of cantonments.

The “Regulations for the Army” lays down rules for “Employment of troops on duties in aid of civil authorities”. According to Paragraph 301, troops may be called in for “maintenance of law and order; maintenance of essential services; assistance during natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods; and any other type of assistance which may be needed by the civil authorities.”

In over-ruling the army’s written objections, the defence ministry relied on the fourth clause: “any other type of assistance which may be needed by the civil authorities.”

Army generals say the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments had jointly cleared the WCF, while the Delhi government had requested for bridges. The decision to overrule army reservations to building bridges, however, was taken by the defence ministry. 

17 comments:

Ranjit Tiwary said...

Absolutely right decision by Government of India

Anonymous said...

“any other type of assistance which may be needed by the civil authorities.”
This should essentially be in the spirit of the earlier clauses. Other wise even the shaadi of a local strongman where large numbers of people are expected to attend could become a public event and the Army called in!

anish said...

hi sir,

could you please post the letter...?
let the world see how the govt underscores the professional opinion of army.

siyahi said...

Grt... Defence ministry must first help army for its procurement of critical items,if can't do that at least let army maintain what it has for war... Pl do not make mockery of ur army...

Alok Asthana said...

Can't really blame the army, if they had protested in writing. The problem lies with the rules permit them to be called out'for ANY other type of assistance needed by civil authorities'. Will someone please help me know as to when this rule was put in place since it wasn't there till about end 2000. The last clause then was 'projects of national development'. With this, the govt is well within its rights to call them to make dinner for Amit Shah. With the all inclusive nature of the fourth sub- rule i.e. any type of assistance needed, the first three are not needed.

Anonymous said...

KEEP CRYING you Sickular Congi SLAVE

Knowledge is Power said...

MOD Reasoning not unconvincing.
Programme had Possitive Impact in Unity & Highlighting Common Thread of Religions & Cultures in India where Delegates from World Over Participated.
Let us not Politicise the Good initiatives.

Jean Luc Picard said...

To call it the Defence ministry, is to lay blame on the entire ministry. Just like we know the Army Chief responded in the case of the Army, we would like to know who, exactly, decided to overrule the advice of the Army Chief.

We want a name. Its time we put names on his Defence Ministry borg, by saying "defence ministry" these public servants MoD staff remain anonymous and personally unaccountable.

Knowledge is Power said...

MOD Reasoning not unconvincing.
Programme had Possitive Impact in Unity & Highlighting Common Thread of Religions & Cultures in India where Delegates from World Over Participated.
Let us not Politicise the Good initiatives.

Anonymous said...

mulayam as defence minister had organised medical camps involving army doctors(super specialists including surgeons who have no meaningful role in the absence of tertiary care diagnostics and eqpt )and eqpt across all over the country at his home village saifai...the logistics and cost involved for a futile political spectacle is not in mainstream media..also the disruption to the medical services of army personnel due to the large number of doctors is again no joke...still it got favourable media coverage...my point is these things happen all the time, its just how you report it that provides the colour..

Rajesh said...

will consent be given for a Sikh function at Dera baba where crowds will be more or for that matter if its for any other religion,can it be termed as public function?

Lalitesh Singh said...

A rank third class decision by Government of India

Girish said...

When will the service chiefs realize that they are not mere ' Hukum ka Ghulam'. What happened to military leaders like Field Marshal Manekshaw. Even a government order needs to justified legally and constitutionally. May be th. Service Chiefs need to learn a lot by the stand taken by NGT on the issue.

Anonymous said...

Don't furnish the comment like idiot and shameless chap. Like u people corruption's r taking place. Backstabber

yagyapal nagar said...

Gentlemen when it comes to culture and country and where so many nationalities are looking at you as a nation , please forget such small issues in the interest of national pride and for respect of our spiritual gurus.

Alok Asthana said...

Ah, the ultimate has now come - national pride and spiritual gurus (or is it a seller of Sudanta toothpaste?)! Now all are expected to shut up in reverence. Bharat Mata ki Jai (just to protect myself).

Anonymous said...

Why the services of CPWD was not utilised....they knew the quality ....the systematic downgrading of armdforces by govt....