Chief Minister Mr. Virbhadra Singh today said that people of the country are indebted to the brave soldiers who made supreme sacrifices in the freedom struggle and then safeguarding the borders and maintaining the integrity of the country. He said that the gallant soldiers of Himachal Pradesh were always in front in making sacrifices for the cause of the nation and they have brought laurels to the country and the state.
The Chief Minister was presiding over a function organized by the Sainik Welfare Department at Shaheed Smarak, Dharamshala to commemorate the Vijay Diwas. He paid homage to all martyrs on behalf of the people of the state. Mr. Virbhadra Singh said that 195 brave soldiers of the state laid their lives during the historic war against Pakistan in 1971.
The first Param Veer Chakra of the country was awarded to Major Somnath of Himachal Pradesh and out of total four Param Veer Chakras given for Kargil aggression, two were given to brave sons of Himachal Pradesh. He added that 14 Himachali soldiers had been conferred with Maha Veer Chakra, 61 with Veer Chakra and till now 1140 soldiers of the state had sacrificed their lives for the cause of the country.
He said that a ‘War Museum’ would be established at Shaheed Smarak Dharamshala where brief description of all the martyrs since British period would be highlighted. An expert committee would be constituted for this purpose and the ‘War Museum’ would be developed as per the recommendations of the committee. He announced Rs. 2 crore for the construction of ‘War Museum’ and added that foundation stone would be laid soon.
Mr. Singh said that ‘War Memorial’ would be further beautified for which all possible assistance would be provided to War Memorial Committee. He said that the busts of the Param Veer Chakras and Shaurya Chakras recipients would also be established here. He announced that all Congress MLA’s and associate members would contribute Rs. 3 lakh each from their MLA fund for the development of the ‘War Museum’. He further said that the state government was implementing various schemes for the welfare of the soldiers, ex-servicemen and their families.
Speaking on the occasion, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil who also holds the portfolio of Sainik Welfare said that Himachal Pradesh had earned a special name as ‘Veer Bhoomi’ in the country and a large number of youth from the state are serving the nation in the armed forces. He said that Himachal Pradesh government is committed for safeguarding the interests of the soldiers and ex-servicemen. Their children were being provided reservation in various professional and educational institutes. Besides, they were also being provided scholarships and reservation in government jobs.