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|September 1, 1998||
Army busting at seams with goodies from Siachen
The Indian army is facing a curious, but nonetheless serious, problem in Siachen: clothes.
Yes, clothes. Or rather, lack of storage space for the stuff.
Indian army authorities say the forces have run out of storage space at the Siachen ordnance logistics gallery in Khalsar. The godowns in this Jammu and Kashmir area, it appears, are virtually bursting at the seams with special clothing, recovered from troops after their stint on the glacier.
The army officers said it had now become practically impossible to continue maintaining the stocks. Clothing was also getting damaged due to lack of storage facilities.
The special clothing is imported from the Alpine countries. The army spends around Rs 55,000 to gear up a personnel for a 90-day tenure on the glacier. There are 50 items of apparel. A sleeping bag alone costs about Rs 11,000 and a jacket Rs 8,000.
Defence Minister George Fernandes, who recently visited the troops in the Siachen region, was briefed in detail about this clothing problem.
An army study has recommended that the troops be allowed to retain six items, 13 items be deleted and 30 items be recycled among troops in other snow-bound areas.
It takes about 11 months for troops on the glacier posting to be trained, acclimatised, inducted and de-inducted. This period includes a three month posting on the glacier proper.
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