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Indian soldiers in frozen Siachen and Ladakh forced to walk with old shoes and worn-out clothes, says CAG

Indian soldiers in frozen Siachen and Ladakh forced to walk with old shoes and worn-out clothes, says CAG

  • The temperatures at Siachen can go as low as -15C, making snow goggles and boots a necessity.
  • The CAG audit found out a deficiency of 24-100% and 41-100% in Extreme Cold Clothing and Equipment (ECC&E) at two depots.
  • “There was also inadequate special ration for these soldiers, affecting their calorie intake by 82%,” the report said.
Indian soldiers at high altitudes like Ladakh and the glacier of Siachen are battling the weather more than enemies. Their arsenal is weak too, says a Comptroller and Auditor General report.

The supplies of necessities like snow goggles and boots are so low that they are forced to use old and recycled ones.

The report tabled in Lok Sabha said that the requirements were delayed up to four years.

Siachen is always covered with snow at a very low temperature of -15C. It is impossible for humans to survive without the right kind of protection.

Boots, goggles and clothes

Between November 2015 and September 2016, a shortage of multipurpose boots, which can protect feet in temperatures of -55 degrees Celsius, forced personnel to opt for recycled boots, CAG report said.

The report also showed a shortage of 750 snow goggles on account of “poor supplies” from the Ordnance Factory, Dehradun.

The CAG audit found out a deficiency of 24-100% and 41-100% in Extreme Cold Clothing and Equipment (ECC&E) at two depots, where the Northern Command Army Headquarters Reserve of such items is stocked.

Food in short supply and sub-standard products

Apart from basic amenities, lack of food is also affecting these soldiers. “This defeats the very purpose of constituting the empowered committee besides undermining the objectives of annual provisioning reviews. There was also inadequate special ration for these soldiers, affecting their calorie intake by 82%,” the report said.

The report said that face masks procured for the troops as “substandard”. It also pointed to possible irregularities in the procurement of 31,779 “sub-standard sleeping bags” at an extra cost of ₹7.74 crore.

A pilot project was also organized to improve housing conditions at a higher altitude for the troops. But it failed, according to CAG.

SEE ALSO: India’s defence budget 2020 increased 9% but not enough to meet the defence needs

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