Himachal Pradesh is a small hilly State in terms of population, but the youth of this State have always been the leader in making sacrifices for the sake of the country. This was stated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while presiding over the Vijay Divas function held at Annadale here today to mark the golden jubilee celebration of the 1971 Indo-Pak war.Chief Minister said that it was a day of glory for us and it is also a day to remember the sacrifices made by our great sons of the soil for the cause of the nation. He said that it was on this day India won on 16th December 1971 after a 13-day long battle with Pakistan. He said that over 93 thousand soldiers of Pakistan surrendered before Commander of Indian Army Lt. General Jagjit Singh Arora by accepting defeat. He said that brave soldiers of Himachal Pradesh also created a history of valour in this war.He said that the brave soldiers of Himachal Pradesh have shown indomitable courage in every war and have not even shied away from making supreme sacrifice while protecting the frontiers of the Nation. He said that Himachal Pradesh has the honour of being called 'Devbhoomi', He said that it was also known as 'Veer Bhoomi' as lakhs of soldiers were serving the Indian Army. He said that in the Kargil war out of the total 527 martyrs, 52 were from Himachal Pradesh and two 'Paramveer Chakra' were won by Himachali soldiers. It is matter of pride for us that the brave soldiers of the State had received 1096 gallantry awards so far, he added.Chief Minister said that the State Government was committed for the welfare of its brave soldiers and many schemes were being implemented for the welfare of ex-servicemen. He said that all the dependents of 52 martyrs were given an amount of Rs.5 lakhs and employment has been provided to the dependent of 48 families out of these families. He said that ex-gratia grant amount of Rs 20 lakh was being provided to the next of kin of the soldiers and paramilitary forces who laid down their lives during the war and Rs 5 lakh to the soldiers belonging to defence and paramilitary forces who have over 50 per cent physical disabilities during war and military operations.
Not only this, a provision has also been made by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas Government of India to provide petrol pumps and gas agencies for the dependents of the soldiers killed in various military operations, he added. Jai Ram Thakur said that State government had also released an amount of Rs 45.63 lakh to ARTRAC Shimla for opening CSD Extension Centre at Sundernagar in District Mandi and Jhanduta in district Bilaspur.Chief Minister inaugurated two Extension Counters for ESM of region at Jhandutta, in Bilaspur district and Sundernagar in Mandi district.Chief Minister, Sainik Welfare Minister and General Officer Commanding in Chief Army Training Command unveiled the bust of Major Sandeep Shankla, Ashok Chakra (Posthumously) and Photo Mosaic of First Army Test Pilot Late Major Pradeep Agarwal.Sainik Welfare, Jal Shakti and Horticulture Minister Mahender Singh Thakur said that he himself have been part of the 'Mukti Vahini' which not only liberated Bangladesh by carving it out from Pakistan. He said that the State Government was committed towards the welfare of the serving soldiers and ex-servicemen. He said that the State Government has decided to setup a pre coaching Sainik Academy at Sarkaghat in Mandi district.General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Army Training Command Lt. General Raj Shukla said that this was a Golden Jubilee year to celebrate splendid victory of the Indian Army in 1971 battle against the Pakistan. He said that it was one of the most comprehensive victories of Modern India. He said that it was a testimony to the courage and valour of the Indian Army. He said that Walker Hospital which was gutted down in fire would be completed soon to facilitate the serving soldiers and ex-servicemen of the State.Joginder Lal Sood, brother of Captain Jatinder Nath Sood, Vir Chakra also presented the medallion in respect of Capt. Jatinder Nath Sood.Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj, former Minister and MLA Col Dr Dhani Ram Shandil, Secretary GAD Devesh Kumar, other Military and Civil officers were present on the occasion, whereas MLA J.R. Katwal and MLA Rakesh Jamwal joined the event virtually from Jhandutta and Sundernagar respectively.