J & K State government not to grant extension to the Pir Panjal firing Range
Reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has revealed that since 1984, the Tosamaidan firing range in Pir Panjal has lead to 65 deaths and over 150 disabilities. The unexploded shells and their residual material spread over the area affected the cattle-grazing communities of nearly 52 villages around Budgam district in Jammu and Kashmir, 16 of them were affected severely.
The village panchayats passed a resolution calling for a ban on firing at Tosamaidan and development of the tourism potential in the area. Based on the information obtained through RTI, a Tosamaidan Bachao Front was launched and the State Government was petitioned. The state government has now decided not to extend the lease permission granted to the Army upon its expiry in April. Currently, the Army is carrying out cleaning operations in the area and the area is likely to be free from shells. The Tosamaidan would be available for public use thereafter.