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Monday, November 30, 2020

Essential Supplies: No much effect of rail blockade, Army says it has stocked up for winters

Military sources said winter stocking of supplies for personnel of the Army and Central Armed Police Forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was completed by the end of October.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina , Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Chandigarh, Jalandhar | Updated: November 16, 2020 9:09:24 am
PLA soldier strays across LAC, Army says will return himAt a checkpoint along a highway leading to Ladakh. Reuters file

The ongoing farmers’ agitation and the continued suspension of train services to Punjab has not had any adverse effect on the Army’s exercise of stocking up the essential items ahead of winter at its stations in Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Military sources said winter stocking of supplies for personnel of the Army and Central Armed Police Forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh was completed by the end of October. Any further replenishment will be flown in once the passes close in J&K and Himachal Pradesh, the sources said.

The suspension of train services following the farmer protests, which gained momentum after new farm laws were enacted by the Centre, had prompted Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to warn that it would not only hit the state’s farmers and industry and people of neighbouring states, but also the supply of essentials to soldiers bracing for the winter in Ladakh and the Valley.

A senior Army officer said adequate reserves are in place. Moreover, movement of special military trains for exercises and field firing, the officer said, has not been taking place due to Covid restrictions.

Major General Yash Mor (retd), who raised the Ladakh Sub Area a couple of years ago and was until recently Chief of Staff of 12 Corps, said: “All winter stocking for Ladakh is over.

There is enough short dumping of essential stores, food items and clothing etc which is then moved up as per requirement. It is a very finely tuned cycle, and in any case most of the movement of supplies takes place via road. Any replenishment which needs to be done for forward areas takes place by air once the roads are blocked due to snowfall after late October.”

But there are challenges.

READ | ‘Farm protests eating into economy, will harm Punjab more than Centre’

A senior official in the Northern Railways conceded that some goods trains meant for Army supplies were delayed in the last 50 days. Railway officials got in touch with Army officers who told them that though they have already done advance dumping of ration, clothing, arms and ammunition and equipment, there are some day-to-day requirements.

“After the Rail Roko was started by farmers in Punjab, at least 15-20 trains with Army supplies were affected. These were not Army special trains, but general freight trains carrying supplies for the Army,” a Northern Railways official said.

Another Railway official said that ever since the blockade, no special train demand for J&K was placed by the Army. Regular queries regarding resumption of goods trains have been coming from the Army, the official said, adding “if there is an emergency, special trains can be run for the armed forces”.

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