Indian Army Shut Down 132 Year Old Military Farms

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News Desk 

The Indian army has closed its military farms built during British era, a move that will save around Rs 2,800 million for the world’s second largest military force. Earlier in 2012, the Quarter Master General branch of Indian Army recommended their closure. In 2016, Lt. Gen. DB Shekatkar (retd) committee was appointed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of the armed forces.

The farms, which covers over 20,000 acres of land across the country, are being shut after they served that country’s troops for 132 years.

“After 132 years of glorious service to the nation, curtains were drawn on this organization. All the officers and workers have been redeployed within the ministry to continue providing service to the organization,” the Indian Army said in a tweet.

“All the officers and workers have been redeployed within the Ministry to continue providing service to the organization”. The Army decided to “transfer” all the cattle kept in the farms to government departments or dairy cooperatives at a nominal cost.

The hefty amount was spent on the maintenance of the farms and salaries of the staff, which were first established to provide hygienic cow’s milk to military troops lodged in various garrisons across Britain-occupied India. The first military farm was constructed in February 1889 at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. After independence, these farms flourished with 30,000 heads of cattle in 130 military farms all over India in varied agro-climatic conditions. For more than a century, the farms with dedication and commitment supplied 3.5 crore litres of milk and 25,000 MT of hay yearly. It is credited with pioneering the technique of artificial insemination of cattle and introduction of organized dairying in India. They also teamed up with the DRDO in the development of bio-fuel.

There were approximately 25,000 cows in the 39 farms across the country when the decision to close them down was announced. In an effort to expedite the closing process, the cows have been sold to state governments and other departments at cheaper rates, causing a huge loss. The army sold an animal for Rs1,000 despite the fact that value of the each Frieswal breed of cows, known for maximum milk, was around INR 1 lakh in the market.

Why are they being closed?

These farms had become “a liability for the force” as they were occupying a substantial amount of land which could be used for other purposes. Major task was management of large tracts (20000 acres) of defence land. Army was spending around Rs 300 crore annually for their maintenance.

Production and supply of hay to animal holding units. Over the years, there have been several allegations of corruption surrounding the farms.

Earlier, cantonments were located far away from urban areas. However, with urban expansion, cantonments have come well within towns and cities.

Besides shutting down farms, Indian government is also to close army postal units and revamp ordnance depots. The restructuring is aimed at devoting more resources to enhancing combat capability.

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