The Army station headquarters in Ahmedabad has written to Chief Minister Narendra Modi seeking to quash a government notification that allows a road and a bridge over the Sabarmati river in the city that would partly pass over defence land.
The construction of this bridge in the Hansol area near the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport,which is also close to the Army cantonment,has been a bone of contention between the Army and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation,which proposed the project in 1998.
The latest in the row is a letter from Lieutenant Colonel Sanjay Dalal from the Ahmedabad station headquarters,which was received at the chief ministers office on November 1. The letter complains that in the name of public interest,national security was being compromised to benefit vested interests.
The AMC had not been pursuing the project for years because of the Armys objection. Lt Col Dalal has referred to a preliminary gazette notification of 2006 from the state urban development and urban housing department that undid an earlier notification of 2004,which cancelled part of the plan that affected the Army installations. This issue is also pending in the Gujarat High Court.
The letter to the CM says,It is highly regrettable that in the name of public interest,national security considerations appear to have been given the go-by in the most blatant manner as is evident here. The local military authority (LMA) also seeks that it be involved in all future deliberations on the scheme or revision of its existing status.
The letter dated October 22,2011 says,The security environment in the country and Gujarat has only deteriorated in the last two years,as is evident from recent media and intelligence reports/incidents of terrorist organisations targeting the state. Against this backdrop,there appears to be absolutely no justification for this move. The Army is well alive to the state and national developmental needs and priorities. However,the surreptitious manner in which the latest preliminary notification has been issued strongly points to a possible existence of powerful anti-national vested interests/lobbies at work,which are prepared to sacrifice national security considerations for personal gains in the garb of public interest/development.
Lt Col Dalal,writing on behalf of the LMA,said: The Army should be involved in any future deliberations on the scheme and revision of its existing status. A meeting may be called to consider the concerns and projections of the Army. The said notification should be quashed and the status quo be maintained in the interests of national security.
A senior official in the CMO said Modi would reply to the letter after he returns from China.