Annadale ground would remain with the army only – Virbhadra
Shimla: The sprawling Annandale ground of critical importance for Army would stay with the Army and Himachal Pradesh government would withdraw the “arbitration proceedings” to get back the ground whose lease expired about three decades ago.
An assurance in this regard was given by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh to GOC-in-Chief, Western Command, Lt Gen Sanjiv Chachra, who met him here today.
The Annandale ground had become bone of contention between the previous BJP government and the Army as the state government wanted the ground back and Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, headed by Anurag Thakur, MP, a son of former Chief Minister P K Dhumal, was keen to develop a cricket stadium there.
Lt Gen Chachra stressed on the criticality of Annandale ground for operations of the Army along the Northern borders as also for an unforeseen disaster relief contingency operations and the Chief Minister said necessary directions would be given to withdraw the arbitration proceedings.
He assured the Army Commander that status quo would be maintained in respect of Annandale ground, an army release said.
Snubbing the HPCA for demanding possession of the ground for developing a multipurpose stadium, the Army had on Sunday said the country’s security can’t be ignored for any game.
“The fact that Annandale ground is of strategic significance for the Army from the national security perspective can never be ignored in favour of any game and gimmicks”, a Western Command statement said.
The Chief Minister also assured Lt Gen Chachra to sympathetically consider expeditious land acquisition and other formalities for early development of a military station in Una in Himachal Pradesh.