Army guns for Dhumal over cricket ground | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Army guns for Dhumal over cricket ground

Locked in a tussle with the Himachal Pradesh government over the possession of Annandale Ground in Shimla, the army issued a press statement on Saturday, lambasting chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

chandigarh Updated: Apr 15, 2012 16:56 IST
HT Correspondent

Locked in a tussle with the Himachal Pradesh government over the possession of Annandale Ground in Shimla, the army issued a press statement on Saturday, lambasting chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.

"Rather than initiating measures to bring additional areas under forest cover, the state seems to be hellbent on destroying the meagre forest cover, all at the behest of the land mafia eyeing phenomenal profits which the cricket stadium project would bring," said a statement issued by the Western Command, Chandimandir.

"Ironically, it was Dhumal himself who had launched the Revival of deodar afforestation project in Shimla in August 2009 by giving a clarion call to people to revive the faded glory of the capital town by actively participating in the afforestation drive. And now the same Dhumal is towing an entirely different line," it said.

The Western Command said the proposal to construct a cricket stadium at Annandale could destroy one of the last green preserves of Shimla.

"That Shimla is reeling under the effect of unplanned urbanisation is no secret. One shudders to think of the impact that a cricket stadium and the associated mushrooming of malls, shopping complexes, hotels and housing societies would have in the forested areas around Annandale. The costs which such developments would impose would have a cataclysmic effect on the fragile ecology of the region..." it said.

Annandale was taken over by the army during World War-II to be used as a training camp. Since then it's used for operational and logistic activities, said the Western Command.

"In the past, the ground has been jointly used by the civil administration and the army for conducting disaster relief and management exercises. Shimla and its adjoining areas are located in high-seismic zone," it added.

When contacted on phone, Dhumal said, "I will react when the statement gets published. I will file a defamation suit against them."

Annandale's history
1. Ground with Army since World War II.
2. Lease deed between representatives of Governor of Punjab and President of India executed in 1958, with retrospective effect from 1955.
3. Deed renewed between representatives of Himachal Pradesh government and President upto March 1982.
4. No renewal of deed after 1982.
5. HP Govt continued to accept lease rent upto 2002.
6. Himachal Govt files for Arbitration.