There is no shortage of funds for soldiers posted at Siachen Glacier, and each soldier is equipped with clothing, medical and mountaineering equipment worth Rs 2.5 lakh, Army sources said on Friday.
They were speaking against the backdrop of the Comptroller and Auditor General report saying that there was an acute shortage of high altitude clothing including snow goggles and boots for troops deployed at the Siachen Glacier and in Ladakh, forcing them to procure old and recycled versions.
However, sources in the Indian Army said that soldiers deployed at the glacier are provided with their full complement of special clothing and equipment. “Presently, each soldier prior to his induction to Siachen Glacier is given special clothing equipment worth overRs 1 lakh along with auxiliary, medical and mountaineering equipment worth an additional Rs 1.5 lakh as expenditure,” said sources.
Sources said that CAG report had cited standards pertaining to clothing and equipment or mountaineering and sports requirements. “It is clarified that there are no international benchmark standards for fighting equipment for troop deployment on the glacier and the Indian Army conducts stringent field trials under actual operational conditions to clear suitability for each piece of clothing and equipment,” said Army sources.
They said that there is no standard scaling of equipment used on the glacier and procurement was done keeping in mind the comfort of the troops and the gravity of the situation. “Special areas such as Siachen Glacier do not suffer from any shortage of funds.
Whenever required, funds are made available to cater to all requirements and exigencies,” said sources. Indian Army sources said that adequate rations are being catered for the troops in a timely manner. “Strict measures have been instituted and contingencies have been planned and rehearsed for any emergency.” said sources.
They said that though the CAG audit team has observed that usage of substitutes in lieu of authorised food items on a cost to cost basis has led to reduction in caloric intake, the basis of arriving at a generic figure of 82 per cent is not known.