Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur urged the Army to use Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) helipad for civil flights as well, so that it could facilitate the tourists visiting the area.

He took up the issue with the Chief of Staff Headquarter Western Command, Chandi Mandir, Chandigarh Lt. General PK Bali Ati Vashisht Seva Medal (AVSM) who called upon him at Oak Over, here on Tuesday.

Thakur said that the Army provided support and cooperation to the state government at the time of natural calamity, particularly to rescue the stranded people in Lahaul valley and students for Holi in Chamba district due to untimely snow.

Several other issues of mutual interest were discussed in the meeting.

Chief Minister said that the state was proud to have maximum number of soldiers in Indian Army in proportion to the population. He said that the state also has over one lakh ex-service men and the government has launched several schemes for their welfare.

Thakur felt the need to have a separated Himachal Battalion in the Indian Armed force keeping in view the services being rendered by the youth of the state in the Army.

The state government would also take up the matter for establishing a Territorial Army of the Himachali Youth, he added. Lt General PK Bali assured the Chief Minister that he would take up the matter with the concerned authorities for consideration.

“Army would provide all support for the construction of War Memorial at Dharamshala,” said Bali.