Forces To Vacate All School, Hospital Buildings In Valley By November 30
28 October 2007
Srinagar: The security forces will vacate all school and hospital buildings, besides the Kokernag tourist resort and the Nageen Club, in Kashmir Valley by November 30. This was decided at a meeting between Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here on Saturday. Top officials of the State and the Army attended the meeting, besides a high-level team from the Union Home Ministry headed by Joint Secretary Maitali Sen Gawai. An official spokesman said a committee comprising the Defence Secretary, Union Home Secretary and Chief Secretary would coordinate. Since the last meeting between Mr. Antony and Mr. Azad two months ago, 72 government buildings were vacated by the security forces. The State government had identified some more buildings for early vacation. The Defence Ministry had paid the entire compensation of Rs. 26.7 crore claimed by the State government for the losses to residential houses and crops in the Khundroo fire incident. The Ministry agreed to raise the rentals of the land and orchards under Army occupation. The State government would submit the revised rates within 15 days. PDP hails move Welcoming the decision on vacation of troops, the People's Democratic Party patron and the former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, hoped this would be followed by cuts in troops for internal security duties. Mr. Sayeed said the popular sentiment against the heavy presence of troops in the civilian areas would have to be respected.