BSF To Set Up Firing Range In Jammu

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FAC gives approval subject to wildlife clearance

Nasir Azam

The paramilitary Border Security Force (BSF) is planning to establish a firing range in forests of Jammu to which Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) has already given a go ahead with a rider that wildlife clearance was must for the proposal.

Official documents in possession of the wire service—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), reveal that BSF has pushed for using 135.57 hectares of forestland for establishment of firing range in compartment No. 6 old and 8 New Chowadi for establishment of firing range in Jammu Forest division.

The proposal came up for discussion during the Forest Advisory Committee’s (FACs) meeting on October 15 held here under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary B.V. R Subhramanyam.

The FAC cleared the proposal subject to from approval State Board of Wildlife and National Board of Wildlife. “The proposal was approved subject to clearance from State Board of Wildlife (SBWL) and National Board of Wildlife (NBWL),” reads minutes of the FAC meeting, a copy of which has been accessed by the KNO.

According to the record note of the meeting, the proposal should be placed before the State Administrative Council (SAC) after receiving clearances from SBWL and NBWL. The SAC was re-constituted as Administrative Council after J&K lost its statehood on October 31 when it was bifurcated into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

As per KNO, like other paramilitary forces, BSF has significant presence in Jammu and Kashmir. Under the Manoeuvres, Field Firing and Artillery Practice Act, 1938, the Government of J&K is empowered to declare an area for field firing and artillery practice.

In the past three years, the PDP- BJP government notified four firing ranges for use of Army and paramilitary forces in different parts of the state. Of them, three were re-notified as forces had lost the rights to use them. In December 2015, the government allowed the army to carry out artillery practice in Garhi area of Rajouri. In March 2017, the government authorized the Army to use 4,80,000 kanals (60,000 acres) situated at Mandalthang, Shayok in Durbuk area in Leh district for five years.

Later in May- June, the government also re-notified a firing range spread over 82 kanals in village Bapli Lote of Udhampur. In October 2017, the Home department re-notified Kaleeth field firing range in Jammu province.



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