Express News Service
Bangalore: Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from Belgaum, Suresh Angadi, who is locked in an eight-year-old battle with the Indian Army against the Bagdad Asmara Field Firing Range, said on Thursday that he would give up all his claims, if compensated adequately. Responding to Express' queries over his suspected role in 'arm-twisting' the Karnataka government, as alleged by the Army, Angadi said that he is being portrayed in bad light by those who are ignorant of the core issue.
“I am an Indian and I love my jawans. I am not against the Indian Army. It is not a fight between a BJP MP and the Army as being reported by the media,” Angadi said. But, the BJP MP was quick to take on the Army. “They have been firing on the road for many years. The farmers are deprived of their livelihood. The Army officers are misleading the government. I have the facts,” Angadi said.
When asked if he used his influence as an MP over the Karnataka government to get the land denotified, Angadi said: “Let the Army acquire the private lands and compensate me and others adequately. I have no issues with it. I have raised this issue in Parliament and Defence Minister Antony is aware of it. In Kerala too, there's a similar issue.”
On why he built the Angadi Institute of Technology and Management without an NOC, as being pointed out by the Army, the MP said that he went by the the provisions of the law. “The Army has given many others NOC to undertake construction activities adjacent to the firing range. Why are they harping on the fact the I don't have an NOC? We have offered another range to the Army (Ramdurga, 11 km away from Belgaum) long time back but the Army refused to go,” Angadi said.
The MP also claimed that a Karnataka Housing Board colony and an Army Welfare colony are coming up in the vicinity of the firing range. He said that in 2008, the Army had agreed to construct a baffle range (covered area to prevent stray injuries), but did nothing later. “They built a huge wall spending crores instead,” the MP said.
The government had recently denotified the land given to the Army, which was originally earmarked as a firing range till 2020.
(Copyright@The New Indian Express)