The government began receiving requests from civilian institutions in 2014-2015. They received three requests that year that rose up to seven in 2015-2016. However, in a startling response, the requests haven’t died down this year and 31 such requests have been to the government in the current year till date.
Since, JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh made the public request of demanding a battle tank for the campus that triggered a debate, several institutions have been demanding installation of combat vehicles and equipment for their campus, reports The Indian Express. Over the past two years numerous private organisations, educational institutions schools, colleges and even NGOs have made requests of a tank or any other combat vehicle being installed in their premises.
The government began receiving requests from civilian institutions in 2014-2015. They received three requests that year that rose up to seven in 2015-2016. However, in a startling response, the requests haven’t died down this year and 31 such requests have been to the government in the current year till date. According to Indian Express, among the educational institutions which have been given such tanks by the Army since 2013 are: Modern School, New Delhi (one Vijayanta tank), Mohammad Ali Jauhar University, Rampur (one T-55 tank), La Martiniere College, Lucknow (one T-55 tank), Lawrence School, Sanawar (one T-55 tank), Dalhousie Public School, Himachal Pradesh (two RCL guns), Punjabi University, Patiala (one Vijayanta tank), Bharati Vidyapeeth, Pune (one T-55 tank against two demanded), Punjab Public School, Nabha (one T-55 tank against two demanded), and Rajkumar College, Raipur (one T-55 tank against two demanded).
Apart from educational institutions, the government has issued battle tanks to various civilian government organisations and that too in bulk. Punjab State War Heroes Memorial-cum-Museum was issued 4 Vijayanta tanks and 19 RCL (recoilless) tanks while the Lion Safari Park in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh has received 5 Vijayanta tanks from the Army. According to data procured by Indian Express, the maximum number of battle tanks issued to any single institution is Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET). The reason behind issuing of a huge number of tanks to a single institution was because Gujarat government wanted to the State of Unity project that is to be completed by 2018. The trend for procuring and installing of army tanks can be to inspire students and employees as the tanks would serve as a ‘constant’ reminder to students of the sacrifices the Army makes, according to former army chief and Minister of State for External Affairs General V K Singh (retd).
However, the government reserves 20 per cent of the obsolete tanks for educational institutions, private organisations or NGOs these organisations to avail the tanks in their premises have to pay 5 per cent of the book value of the equipment keeping aside the cost of transporting the battle tanks. Also, due to the surge in demand for obsolete tanks, the government has made a proviso of ‘first come first serve’ basis with 10 per cent out-of-turn allotments.