Jammu, Aug 7 IANS | 5 months ago

The Army Thursday continued Mission Humsafar to clean up the field firing range here of unexploded artillery shells and mortar blinds.

Defence spokesman Colonel Manish Mehta told IANS here Thursday that "As part of its humanistic approach towards people residing in the border villages, the army has undertaken mission 'Humsafar' a major clean up drive from August 5 onwards in field firing ranges in Akhnoor, Kalith and Chinota areas of Jammu district."

"During the mission the Army is carrying out physical search of the entire area and any unexploded artillery shells and mortar blinds are being collected and destroyed.

"The army is also educating the locals regarding safety aspects to be borne in mind during the conduct of firing in the range during the said mission.

"Kalith field firing range (KFFR) which is clearly marked into separate zones for artillery, mortar and small arms firing is located close to the line of control (LoC) where many units of the northern command carry out regular field firing.

"With establishment of KFFR at station headquarters in Pallanwala since July 2011 the ranges have been safe and incident free and no civilian casualties have been reported to have occurred inside the range area as a result of blinds.

"It is one of the finest examples of co-existence of the Army and civilian population as the range remains closed during periods of civilian activities such as school examinations, sowing and harvesting seasons and Sundays and holidays.

"Residents of about 20 villages surrounding the firing range have welcomed this humanitarian initiative of the Army and are appreciative of the fact that the Army besides ensuring security of borders and maintaining peaceful environment in the area has also been constantly upgrading the standard of living of people by undertaking useful projects under Sadbhavana initiative.

"It may be noted that the locals have been in favour of re-notification of the KFFR and the case is presently with the state government for consideration".

A similar initiative has been taken up by the Army in the Valley where the Tosa Maidan firing range in central Badgam district is being cleaned up of unexploded artillery shells.

(Posted on 07-08-2014)

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