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Indian Army disbands military farms

NEW DELHI (PTI): In line with its reform measures, the Army on Wednesday disbanded its military farms after 132 years in service.

A flag ceremony for the closure of the facilities was held at Military Farms Records at Delhi Cantonment, officials said.

In August 2017, the Defence Ministry announced a series of reform measures for the Indian Army that included shutting down of the military farms, housing around 25,000 head of cattle, in the country.

The farms were set up by the British to ensure supply of milk to Army units.

"After 132 years of glorious service to the nation, curtains were drawn on this organisation," Indian Army said in a statement.

It said the military farms with their dedication and commitment supplied 3.5 crore litres of milk during a period spanning over a century.

"First Military farm was raised on February 1, 1889 at Allahabad. After Independence, military farms flourished with 30,000 head of cattle in 130 military farms all over India in varied agro-climatic conditions," the Army said.

The farms were occupying around 20,000 acres of defence land and the Army was spending around Rs 300 crore annually for their maintenance, according to official data.

"It is credited with pioneering the technique of artificial insemination of cattle and introduction of organised dairying in India, providing yeoman service during 1971 war, supplying milk at the Western and Eastern war fronts as well as during Kargil operations to the Northern Command," it said.

The Army said military farms were even established in Leh and Kargil in late 1990s, with the task of supplying fresh and hygienic milk to troops at their locations on a daily basis.

The Army decided to "transfer" all the cattle kept in the farms to government departments or dairy cooperatives at a nominal cost.

Officials said all the personnel who were employed with the military farms have been redeployed within the Army.

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