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Army dedicates spruced up Yol Fort to Nation

Written by: Staff

Yol Cantt, Dharamsala, June 1 (UNI) The historic Yol Fort, spruced up by army's 'Rising Star' Corps, with a new museum depicting aspects of warfare and cultural heritage of Himachal Pradesh, was dedicated to the nation.

The Corps' General Officer Commanding (GOC) Lt Gen P K Rampal, who was behind the idea, inaugurated the refurbished historic monument yesterday while former Army Chief General V N Sharma was the guest of honour. The parents of martyrs and large numbers of ex-servicemen were also present on the occasion.

It was an emotional and memorable moment for Corps' Chief of Staff Maj Gen R S Mehta, who was tasked to preparing the blueprint and roadmap for reconstruction of the fort, as it was the last day of his sevice with the Army.

The eartwhile Yol Fort was a small memorial existing at the Nabha-Mall Road junction inside the Cantonment, constructed in 1958 by 81 Infantry Brigade (Patiala) as a memorial for martyrs of units serving in the Yol Cantt. When raising of the IX Corps commenced here last year, the Fort was found to be in a highly dilapidated state and measures to restore it began.

The frontal wall of fort is decked with photos of five brave martyrs, who earned the nation's highest awards in war and peace and belonged to Corps' formations. These include Param Vir Chakra recepients -- Major Somnath Sharma (Kashmir, 1947-48), Capt G S Salaria (Cong, 1964) and Capt Vikram Batra (Kargil, 1999) -- (all posthumous) -- and Ashok Chakra winners Lt Triveni Singh, and Major Sudhir Kumar Walia (both posthumous).

The Corps museum, showcasing a kaleidoscope of history, culture of Himachal, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, a display of weapons, a gallery dedicated to operations conducted by Indian Army, was also inaugurated on the occasion. It also has an ''immortal heroes'' gallery containing the 'Capt Vikram Batra Corner,' which displays the last letters written by him, letters of appreciation and condolence, photographs, and the last uniform worn by him.

Interacting with mediapersons after the function, Lt Gen Rampal said the expansion plans of the museum will be carried out in phases, at an approximate cost of Rs one crore. ''In the second phase, artefects donated by Raja Aditya Singh of the Katoch dynasty will be showcased, while in the third phase, construction of a museum building will be taken up.'' The Corps Commander said the Corps would also provide a technical support to state government for its proposed 'War Memorial' at Dharamsala.


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