Defence minister urged to save Gaya OTA

Defence minister Rajnath Singh
GAYA: The Officers Training Academy (OTA) Bachao Sangharsh Samiti of the town has urged defence minister Rajnath Singh to reconsider the decision of proposed closure of the Gaya OTA.
Gaya OTA is one of the three academies which impart military training to Army officers in the country. The other two academies are located in Dehradun and Chennai.
According to sources, the defence ministry has decided to close Gaya OTA as part of the cost-cutting exercise by the Army. The Gaya academy, established in 2011 to train 750 officers, imparts training to only about 250 Army officers on an average every year. Sikh Light Infantry Regimental Centre, Fatehgarh (UP), is proposed to be relocated to the present OTA premises in Gaya.
According to the petition signed by Vijai Kumar Mithu, convener of the OTA Bachao Sangharsh Samiti, the academy was established only eight years back and more than Rs1,000 crore have been spent on the development of infrastructure and other facilities. This will go down the drains, he said.
Mithu also said a dharna was staged at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Friday to register their protest against the proposed closure of Gaya OTA. The agitation by Gaya activists will continue, he told this newspaper on phone.
Recalling the efforts of former defence minister Jagjivan Ram in the establishment of Army Service Corps (N) in Gaya in 1975, the petition said the ASC was moved to Bangalore in 2011 and OTA was established. Now even the OTA was being closed.
According to the petitioner, besides Army personnel, about 800 civilians are employed in Gaya OTA. All of them can’t be absorbed elsewhere and quite a few of them would be losing their jobs.
“Not only that, the closure of the OTA will badly affect the Gaya economy. A sizeable part of the expenditure made by OTA officers and employees finds its way to the local market. With OTA gone, the Gaya market will suffer heavy losses at a time when the economy as a whole was not doing well,” Mithu said.
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