CAG points to gear, essentials’ shortage faced by soldiers in Siachen, Ladakh
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Monday drew attention to a worrying shortage of essential gear, clothing and rations being faced by soldiers deployed in high altitude areas like Siachen and Ladakh.
In a report tabled in Parliament, the CAG said there were delays of up to four years in procurement of high altitude clothing and equipment items leading to an acute shortage.
There was critical shortage of snow goggles ranging from 62% to 98% and troops were not issued multi-purpose boots between November 2015 and September 2016, a press statement issued by the CAG on Monday said.
The statement said older versions of items such as face masks, jackets and sleeping bags were procured, depriving the troops of the benefits of improved designs.
The CAG report said shortage of special rations compromised the calorie intake of soldiers by as much as 82%. “At Leh station, in one instance, it was noticed that the special ration items were shown as issued to troops for consumption without their actual receipt,” the release said.
The CAG also drew attention to the delay in setting up of the Indian National Defence University, as recommended by the Kargil Review Committee in 1999.
The findings of the report are as of the year ending March 2018.
Senior army officials, however, said the report was dated and things had improved over the last two years. Emphasizing that proper gear was being provided to the soldiers, one of the officials cited above said that the equipment issued to each soldier in Siachen is worth Rs1 lakh.