Providing quality healthcare for the well-being of ex-servicemen was a priority for the Indian Army, said Indian Army chief, Gen. Bipin Rawat on Saturday."Amendments have been made to ensure timely access to medicines for the ex-servicemen, as providing quality healthcare to them under the Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme is a priority for us," he said after unveiling the statues of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya at this hill town in the state's Kodagu district.Rawat also said the land of Kodavas had provided great leaders who have been part of the defence forces over the decades."I am sure in the future also, there will be many distinguished leaders from this land. Courage, valour and sacrifice of the people of Coorg (Kodagu) will always be remembered by the Indian Army," he said.Located in the southern part of the Western Ghats, around 240 km from Bengaluru, Kodagu has a sizeable population of war veterans and war widows.
Cariappa was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Army and was conferred the Field Marshal rank on April 1986, being one of the two to hold the five-star rank, the other being S.H.F.J. 'Sam' Manekshaw. Thimayya was Chief of Army Staff from 1957 to 1961.The bronze statues are installed in the vicinity of the 'Lyn House', the ancestral house of Kodavdira family, to which both the Generals belonged to.The Army had set up over a decade ago the Field Marshal Cariappa-General Thimayya Forum (FMCGTF) to helping Kodagu veterans and motivate the youth to join the armed services. The Forum has been celebrating the birthdays of Carippa and Thimayya every year since 2007 at Madikeri in the same district where they were born.The Forum has converted Thimayya's residence 'Sunny Side' at Madikeri as a museum and is building a war memorial in his honour. It will be unveiled next year.The Army Chief also announced Rs 10 lakh for the museum at the event.Forum President Col K.C. Subbayya (retd), and its Convenor Major B.A. Nanjappa (retd) also spoke on the occasion.