Nurpur, April 17
To recognise the sacrifice made by the valiant soldiers of lower Kangra district, the state government had proposed a war memorial in Nurpur over two years ago. Sainik Welfare and Irrigation & Public Health Minister Mahender Singh had laid the foundation stone of the memorial on the premises of the office of Superintending Engineer, IPH, Nurpur, on March 2, 2019, with much fanfare.
However, even after two years, no work has been started on the memorial and its foundation stone is gathering dust.
Enquiries revealed that during the stone-laying ceremony, no land had been identified but the minister had announced that Rs 80 lakh had been earmarked for this project, which would be completed in one year. Intriguingly, the government recently identified land near Noorpur Public School here in ward number two. The land is yet to be transferred in the name of Sainik Welfare Department.
A lot of resentment is brewing among the ex-servicemen in the area over the dilly-dallying attitude of the government in starting the construction. As many as 9,500 ex-servicemen with 30,000 dependants are living in lower Kangra district, comprising Nurpur, Jawali, Fatehpur and Indora subdivisions.
Col NS Pathania (Retd.), chairman of Ex-Servicemen League, Nurpur unit, said, “The foundation stone of the war memorial had been laid without procuring any land, which was an insult for our martyrs. It amounted to playing with the sentiments of thousands of ex-servicemen of this region. Why was the foundation stone laid in a government office when no land was available?”
Local MLA and Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania told The Tribune that he had contacted Sainik Welfare Minister Mahender Singh Thakur to enquire about the tentative period in which the construction would begin but he did not share any timeframe for this purpose.
Meanwhile, Col KS Chahal (Retd.), Deputy Director, Sainik Welfare Board, Kangra, said after identifying the land for the proposed war memorial, its drawing and design had been approved. “The Sainik Welfare Department has applied for forest clearance so that the identified land can be transferred in the name of the department,” he said.