President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday laid the foundation for a new military station at Behrampore in West Bengal, describing it as “an idea close to his heart”.
On the occasion, Mukherjee said the military station was a part of an initiative to increase the capability of the armed forces to meet the country’s security needs.
“Berhampore Military Station assumes importance as it is a part of the initiative being undertaken to enhance the capability of our defence forces to safeguard national security interests,” he said.
The station, which would be spread over 250 acres of land, would be completed by 2018 and `600 crore would be spent on its construction.
The President had, during his tenure as Defence Minister between 2004-06, initiated the process for the military station in Nabagram in Behrampore.
Mukherjee, who had represented Jangipur Lok Sabha constituency, which comprises Nabagram and other neighbouring areas, said the military station would benefit people of the surrounding areas with economic development and prosperity.
West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan, Army Chief General Bikram Singh and the President’s son Abhijit Mukherjee, who represents Jangipur constituency in the Lok Sabha, were also present during the function.
Complimenting Defence Minister A K Antony, senior leadership of the Army and the Ministry of Defence for their efforts in realising this project of national importance, the President also appreciated the West Bengal government and the people of the area for their generous support for the project and “in particular for providing land”.
The Berhampore Military Station would involve investment for construction of the cantonment and related infrastructure, which is expected to create additional employment, give a boost to the local economy and benefit the local populace, he said.
Pointing to the historical importance of the place, Mukherjee said Murshidabad was a major power centre during the 17th and 18th century during the time of Siraj-ud-Daulla.
The famous Battle of Plassey, through which the British wrested control of this area and thereafter, of this country, was fought about 60 km South from the spot, where the military station is coming up, the President recalled.
Mukherjee praised the Kolkata-headquartered Eastern Command of the Army for maintaining excellent bonding with the civilian administration and the populace. He also interacted with the troops, who had gathered here in large numbers.