Saturday, September 1, 2012

MoD lays claim on Skinner Estate

MoD lays claim on Skinner Estate
Raman Mohan/TNS
Friday, August 31, 2012, Chandigarh, India
Hisar, August 30
The Ministry of Defence has laid its claim on the famed Skinner Estate in Hansi, a sub divisional town of the district about 25 km from here. The estate under litigation is located on the Delhi Road. Its commercial value is estimated at Rs 200 crore.
The Defence Estate Officer of the Bathinda circle of the ministry has filed an application in a court at Hansi saying that the land belonged to the Indian Army and its sale by a builder was illegal. It said that the estate was established by Col James Skinner who raised the Skinner’s Horse regiment, a cavalry unit which was now a part of the Indian Army.
Skinner established the regiment’s headquarters on this land measuring 214 kanals of land. The Officers’ Mess and a graveyard to bury the martyrs was also established on this land. Through a lawyer the Defence Estate Officer pleaded that the respondents had accepted these facts in a petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He reiterated that the land had historical monuments which are of great importance to the army and these should not be allowed to be demolished.
The estate has been a subject of controversy for three decades now when it was first sold in the late eighties. However, the deal fell through. About two years ago, a group of residents of Hansi led by a politician purchased this land from some of the descendants of Skinner. The legal complications however prevented the group of builders from selling plots carved out from this land.
After reaching a settlement with the company which had purchased the land in the eighties, hundreds of trees inside the estate were cut and plots were carved out for sale.
Some of the other descendants of Skinner filed a suit in a local court against the builder. The Defence Ministry has pleaded in its application that it be made a party to this case.
The land was granted to James Skinner as a ‘jagir’ by the British for the services he rendered to the British in the battle for Bharatpur in 1818. The ‘jagir’ rendered Skinner a revenue of Rs 20,000 a year in those days.
Skinner was born in 1778 in Calcutta to Lt Col Hercules Skinner, a Scottish officer in the British Army. James Skinner’s mother was a daughter of a blue-blooded Rajput zamindar. She was taken prisoner in her teens during a battle. James’s father took her under his care and married her. They had six children. His mother committed suicide when he was 12 years old.
Because of his Indian lineage, Skinner was ineligible to serve as an officer in the British army like his father. So at the age of 16, he joined the Maratha army as an ensign under a French commander of the army of the then Gwalior state. He served the Gwalior army for several years and impressed his superiors to rise in the ranks. However, he was dismissed from the Maratha army after the outbreak of the second Anglo-Maratha War. He was sacked along with all other Anglo-Indians.
He kept trying to join the British Indian Army then commanded by Lord Lake. On February 23, 1803, Skinner raised a regiment of irregular cavalry and named it as Skinner's Horse. The officers and men of the regiment were called the Yellow Boys after the colour of their uniform. The regiment showed its prowess in many battles and ultimately it became the most decorated regiment of light cavalry in the British Indian Army. It is still a part of the Indian Army.
In 1828, James was promoted to the rank of a Lt Col in the British Army, while his brother, Robert was promoted as a Major. Later, James became a Colonel after having been appointed Companion of the Order of the Bath on December 26, 1826.
MoD lays claim on Skinner Estate

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Indian Air Force ahead with over 10 percent women officers

New Delhi, Aug 22, 2012, (IANS)
Women officers in the Indian army, navy and air force constitute only 3.3, 3.9 and 10.4 percent of the officer cadre respectively and these figures were achieved within 20 years from when they were first recruited, parliament was informed Wednesday.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the representation of women in the armed forces has been progressively increasing since their first recruitment in 1992-93.
"At present, the percentage of women officers in army, navy and air force, excluding medical streams, is 3.3 percent, 3.9 per cent and 10.04 percent respectively," Antony said.
"The representation of women officers in the armed forces has increased progressively over the years," the minister added.
To another query on the same subject, the minister said the number of women officers in the army is 1,214, in the navy 302 and the air force 1,079.
At present, the existing strength of the army is 36,788 officers, the navy 7,744 and the air force 10,747. There is a shortfall of 13,000 officers across the three services.
These figures are excluding the medical stream women officers.
Women officers are inducted in the branches open to them within the overall authorised strength of officers' cadre of respective service, based on merit on an all- India basis.
"There is no separate fixed sanctioned strength for women officers in the armed forces," he added.
Noting that a fresh policy on induction of women officers was laid down last November, Antony said it was issued after considering the paper submitted by a high-level tri-service committee with the approval of the chiefs of staff committee.
"There is an endeavour to fill up the vacancies of officers from amongst eligible candidates, which is a continuous and an ongoing process," Antony said.
Barring the medical stream, women officers are inducted on short service commissions in certain branches of the three armed forces.
In the army, women officers are recruited in the Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordnance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Army Education Corps and Judge Advocate General branches.
In the navy, they are inducted into the Judge Advocate General, Logistics, Observer, Air Traffic Controller, Naval Constructor and Education branches.
In the air force, though, women officers are recruited in all branches and streams, except the fighter stream of the flying branch.
Indian Air Force ahead with over 10 percent women officers

AFNHB is akin to AWHO: Money Spinners

Adarsh scam scares Kerala govt
K P Sai Kiran, TNN Aug 26, 2012, 03.45AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Ricochets of Adarsh scam seem to have rocked the Kerala bureaucracy. The state revenue department has turned down a proposal by the Air Force Naval Housing Board (AFNHB), requesting land for coming up with a housing project for serving and retired Air Force and Navy personnel, citing that "it may lead to Adarsh-like scams".
"The proposal may be turned down. The AFNHB is only a housing society which is registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860. When prime land is not available even for development purposes of the state, it need not be given for such purposes. An alternative site can be located but the government need not play the role of a middle-man for locating the land, as it may lead to Adarsh-like scams," said the revenue department's note, accessed by the STOI.
With this, fate of the ambitious project by the defence welfare organization is almost sealed.
"With the department concerned putting such an objection on record, that too expressing apprehension of another Adarsh-like scam, the housing project may not take off,'' a source said.
Union minister of state for defence M M Pallam Raju had on May 31, 2007, written to the then chief minister V S Achuthanandan requesting to allot at least 10 acres of land at a suitable location for the AFNHB "to construct residential units, community facilities, sports complexes, etc., for retired Air Force and Navy personnel of your state''.
Following this, the AFNHB put forward a proposal requesting the Kerala government to allot 10 acres from the 135 acres of land near Muttathara, close to the airport. Air Vice-Marshal K P Nair on June 14, 2012, wrote to the government that AFNHB was willing to pay for the land at prevailing government rates.
The Muttathara land, ever since the revenue department decided to develop it for housing projects, was eyed by many governmental and semi-governmental organizations given its prime location and proximity to the airport. Though the Kerala government has already given parts of the 135-acre plot to Indian Air Force, Border Security Force and Airports Authority of India, the babus developed cold feet in the case of AFNHB alone.
Adarsh scam scares Kerala govt
Comment: Wise decision taken by Kerala. Most of the AWHO houses after a few years are sold to the civilians thereby making a huge profit. In some cases complete housing colony is now owned by civilians. Transfer from Military allottee to civilians is based on paying bribes to AWHO officials at Delhi. The whole concept of Welfare Housing for the Armed Forces (like AWHO) smacks transparency under the 1860 Indian Society Act. This is a money making gimmick which should be discouraged and closed down. All state governments must be warned against allotting land to these so called welfare organisations. Only Senior Military Personnel Benefit in these clandestine welfare gimmicks. The poor Jawans are made suckers by the poor quality and sub-standard construction which starts to crumble even before occupation. This has been exposed in earlier posts on this blog on AWHO- click here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Onam Greetings 2012

President, VP greet nation on Onam
Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 28, 2012, 14:35
The President and Vice President today greeted the nation on the eve of Onam, which marks the beginning of the harvest season.
President Pranab Mukherjee in his message said, "On the joyous occasion of Onam, I offer my warm felicitations and heartiest greetings to all my brothers and sisters belonging to Kerala."
He said the festival brings out the rich cultural heritage of Kerala in its best form and spirit.
"May this harvest festival instill in us the spirit of national integration and inspire us to work for further development of our country," Mukherjee said.
Vice President M Hamid Ansari said Onam plays an important role in uniting people.
He wished that the festival "may usher in peace, prosperity and happiness in the society and contribute in the nation's progress".
President, VP greet nation on Onam
RMS team wishes all readers a Happy Onam. May it bring Prosperity and Peace

Tatra Scam and One Rank One Pension

27 AUG, 2012, 05.17PM IST, PTI
CBI registers case against officials of Defence Ministry, Army in Tatra deal
NEW DELHI: CBI has registered a case against the owners of a UK-based company and officials of Defence Ministry and army to inquire into alleged irregularities committed in procurement of Tatra trucks for the Indian Army, government told the Lok Sabha today.
"The matter is under investigation by CBI. It has also registered a regular case against one of the owners and unknown persons of a UK-based company, unknown officials of a DPSU and unknown officers of Defence Ministry and Indian Army," Defence Minister A K Antony said in a written reply.
Defence Ministry had purchased 6477 Tatra Trucks between 1987-1988 to 2010-2011.
In reply to a question on action against officials found guilty for corruption, he said, "Whenever a complaint is received from CBI, CVC, other departments and general public etc, it is examined in the Ministry and if necessary, advice of CVC is sought on initiation of disciplinary proceedings."
Replying to a question on import of defence equipment, the Minister said, "Defence equipments have been imported from various countries including Russia, USA, Israel, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Singapore etc. The imports cover various types of weapon system and platforms."
Antony also told the House that for 2012-13, Rs 67,672.24 crore has been allocated to the armed forces for capital acquisition.
Antony also denied any proposal to link the Army Hospitals with the private ones. Antony was asked "whether it is proposed to link Army hospitals with private hospitals to provide efficient service to defence personnel."
On demands of One Rank One Pension by the ex-servicemen, he said, "government has constituted a committee in July 2012, headed by Cabinet Secretary for looking into pay and pension related issues of relevance to Defence service personnel and ex-servicemen."
On lateral induction of defence personnel in para-military forces, Central Police Organisation and other organiations, he said, "The issue has been deliberated at various levels and by different committees. However, no common view could be evolved on the issue in view of complexities involved."
So far as induction of ex-servicemen in CPMF etc is concerned, provision already exists for the same, he said.
CBI registers case against officials of Defence Ministry, Army in Tatra deal.
CBI registers case against officials of Defence Ministry, Army in Tatra deal


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