Nitish writes to Rajnath against proposal to close Army Officers Training Academy
Kumar reminded Rajnath that the then defence minister AK Antony had given the second OTA to Gaya to protect the interest of the people in the region.Updated: Dec 18, 2019 23:53 IST
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has written to defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday saying the proposed closure of the Indian Army’s Officers Training Academy (OTA) in Gaya would be “gross injustice” to the people of the state, which in any case had very few Army establishments. Nitish described the mooted closure of the OTA in Gaya, which is on the world tourism map, as “very shocking and disturbing” news and contrary to the assurance given to Bihar by the UPA government in 2009.
The Officers Training Academy (OTA)– only the second in the country after Chennai– was opened in Gaya in 2011 in the premises of the Army Service Corps (ASC) North, which was shifted from Gaya to Bangalore due to strategic and security reasons despite opposition from the Bihar government in 2010. Kumar reminded Rajnath that the then defence minister AK Antony had given the second OTA to Gaya to protect the interest of the people in the region.
“It provided employment opportunities and supported the livelihood of locals and also contributed towards the economy and sense of security in the area as well as to pilgrims coming from outside India,” Nitish wrote, urging Rajnath to fulfill Antony’s 2009 assurances to Bihar.
A senior official of the Indian Army said the OTA in Gaya was not viable due to a very low intake. “Once fully operational, the Gaya OTA was to have a capacity to train 750 short-service commission (SSC) officers annually. However, the number is very low. This year, it fell to less than 100. There is also disinterest among officers to go to Gaya due to climatic conditions and other factors. In the end, it is turning out to be a drain on the state exchequer,” he said.
The army officer quoted above, however, added that there was a suggestion to shift the Rajput Regimental Centre from Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh to Gaya to make use of the existing infrastructure.