Shortage of armed forces firing ranges: Antony

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    Shortage of armed forces firing ranges: Antony

    12 December 2011 - By IANS,

    New Delhi: The Indian armed forces face a shortage of field firing ranges (FFR) to practice the use of weapons with the number dwindling from 104 to 66 in the last decade, parliament was informed Monday.

    Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in written replies in the Lok Sabha that 38 FFRs were deleted from the list in 2009 due to their not being available after denotification on account of being declared wildlife sanctuaries or not being renotified by the state governments.

    "The number of FFRs has declined in the last decade from 104 to 66 (12 acquired and 44 notified). Thirty-eight ranges have been deleted from the list of FFRs in 2009 due to their not being available (due to denotification) on account of being declared as wildlife sanctuaries or to their not being renotified by the state governments," Antony said.

    He said FFRs are required to be renotified from time to time by the respective state governments after clearance from the ministry of environment and forests has been received.

    "Due to the increase in population, spread of habitation and development, encroachments, areas are being declared as wildlife sanctuary/reserve forests, and environmental pressures, the state governments are often disinclined to renotify ranges in their jurisdiction," he said.

    Concerted efforts are being made at all levels to ensure timely renotification of the denotified ranges, the defence minister said, adding that one-time compensatory afforestation charges, as required by the respective state governments, have been paid in case of many ranges to ensure their long-term renotification and continued availability.

    "In addition, efforts are on by the army to impress upon the respective state governments and ministry of environment and forests the need for renotification/acquisition of FFRs," he added.

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