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Annandale ground: Himachal to withdraw case against army

Posted on Jan 28, 10:37PM | IANS

Himachal Pradesh Monday decided to withdraw arbitration proceedings against the Indian Army over the possession of the picturesque Annandale ground in the state capital. The ground would remain under army control.

A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting between Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Western Command) Lt. Gen. Sanjiv Chachra in Shimla, a statement by the Western Command said here.

It said that during the meeting the army commander stressed upon the criticality of Annandale ground for army operations along the northern borders as also for carrying out disaster relief operations.

"The chief minister was in agreement and said necessary directions would be given to withdraw the ongoing arbitration proceedings," it said.

The chief minister said status quo would be maintained in respect of the ground, the statement added.

The 121-bigha (one bigha is 0.4 hectare) picturesque Annandale ground, just three km from Shimla's Ridge, has been a flashpoint of confrontation between the state and the army as the latter does not allow the ground for civilian use.

The previous state government headed by Prem Kumar Dhumal moved against the army in the court of divisional commissioner in Shimla for taking its possession.

In April last year, Dhumal said the ground was "in the illegal possession of the defence authorities as its lease had expired many years back".