MEDIKERI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh Suhag visited here on Saturday. Thousands of ex-servicemen extended a warm welcome to the army chief. General Singh visited late Field Marshall K M Cariappa’s statue and paid tributes to the great warrior. He also wrote a message in the visitors’ book.
He interacted with Kudige Sainik School cadets and encouraged them to join the NDA, after learning that just five from the school had joined the NDA since the last three years. He handed over a cheque worth `1 lakh from the army fund to school principal Capt Ben H Berson. Gen Singh visited General K S Thimmaiah’s house, Sunny Side, which will become a museum.
He planted a sapling there. Addressing a jam-packed gathering of armed forces veterans at a rally here, he said this tiny district is a land of heroes, which is a great “punya bhoomi”.
He said he had served as a Captain from 1981 to 1984 in Bengaluru, and met late Field Marshall K M Cariappa many times, which was an honour for him. He said the army held 63 veteran rallies last year, and planned to hold 102 rallies this year. He announced a series of sops to motivate youth from the region to join the armed forces.
Singh said after he took charge as COAS, he decided to observe January 14 as Veterans Day, which is incidentally the day Field Marshall K M Cariappa and Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw retired.
He said a proposal is before the Centre for setting up 10 regional veteran hospitals, which will be increased in phases.
He said the army started the ex-servicemen comprehensive health scheme (ECHS), which will take medical facilities even to remote parts of the country.
“Although the army has many well- trained men with many skills, they cannot use it after their retirement, as they don’t have recognition in terms of certification. The training will help soldiers to find jobs after retirement. The army has identified 172 certification courses,” he said.