PATNA: Army personnel have reasons to feel proud of their Bihari roots as Bihar accounts for about 11 percent of the total Army personnel strength.
Talking to TOI, Bihar Ex-Servicemen League president Col (retd) V K Singh said that Bihar had lost a large size of cantonment after its bifurcation from West Bengal and later due to creation of Jharkhand. While about 20,000 troops went to the Barrackpore Cantonment in West Bengal, it lost two training centres located at Ramgargh to Jharkhand. About 7,500 troops went to the Ramgargh Cantonment after creation of Jharkhand, he said, adding even the main canteen service is still located in Jharkhand.
Col (retd) Singh said that the Army from Bihar has to go to Jharkhand to purchase two or four wheelers. Besides, the League members have been paying state tax on each item of defence being transported to Danapur Cantonment from Jharkhand. He said that about 1.5 lakh personnel are in defence service from Bihar.
According to the League president , the number of Army personnel from Bihar has increased from 3.5 per cent to 11 per cent now as the Centre has fixed the quota of recruitment in Army population-wise from each state. As a result, the number of ex-servicemen has also gone high in Bihar as most of them preferred to settle in Bihar after their superannuation. That apart, about 12,000 ex-servicemen have been employed as Special Auxiliary Police (SAP) in Bihar, he said.
Lauding the state government decision to build Zila Kalyan Karyalaya (district welfare office) in six districts of the state at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore, Singh said that there is an immediate need to increase the number of Army canteens and polyclinics to cater to the needs of Army personnel.
About six lakh ex-servicemen are currently located in Punjab. The number of canteens is about 100 there as there are six large cantonments in Punjab. In Punjab, there is a state minister to take care of ex-servicemen s needs and welfare. Bihar too needs to have a separate minister to look after the welfare of ex-servicemen, he said.