Faced with a shortage in the number of firing ranges, the Army has undertaken a major upgradation programme for two of its biggest field firing ranges so that adequate firing practices can be given to more army units every year.
Almost Rs 50 crore has been earmarked to improve the firing ranges at Pokhran and Babina (near Jhansi in Madhya Pradesh) in the next one year, reliable sources said. Facilities like moving target trolley will be introduced in these ranges. Also, more observation posts and camps would be created to accommodate more soldiers who would be coming to these ranges from all over the country.
The upgradation comes in the wake of a major overhauling of facilities at the 1,500-sq km Mahajan range in Rajasthan, which can now cater to almost 250 army units every year. Other firing ranges will also be upgraded later.
The Army has 66 field firing ranges, out of which 12 were acquired and 54 were notified by the state governments. The number of ranges came down drastically in the last three years leaving the Army with only 66 as against 104 which it had till 2009. States were reluctant to provide land because of their own requirement. Moreover, the validity of the notification for 13 firing ranges has expired, which are now in the process of being re-notified. Three ranges in the North-East are scheduled to be re-notified by August.