President Inaugurates Berhampur Military Station
The President of India, Mr Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the newly developed Berhampore Military Station (BMS) at Nabagram, 25km from Murshidabad in West Bengal on October 8, 2016, amidst characteristic military fanfare. The function was witnessed by close to a thousand people including military top brass, representatives of the West Bengal government, MPs and other dignitaries.
The President arrived at BMS by a special IAF helicopter and was received by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi. Thanking Mr Mukherjee for his personal indulgence in ensuring the allotment of 252 acres of land to build the BMS, Lt Gen Bakshi also appreciated the support of the local population to the idea of a new military station in the region. Reminiscing the bravery of the valiant people of the region who took part in the battle of Plassey in 1757 and a century later, gave birth to the first war of independence from this very land, he said "The valiant people of this area have left their mark behind by their blood in this soil- the very soil on which today, it is our proud privilege to inaugurate this military station".
Speaking on the occasion, the President complimented the Army for having developed the station with commendable speed after the foundation stone had been laid by him just 32 months prior, in Feb 2014. Lauding the courage, fortitude and valour shown by the Indian soldier in every battlefield in various parts of the world, the President said, "till today, our soldiers are upholding that tradition - and whenever I get an opportunity to be present in the congregation of our armed forces, I always salute these bravehearts whose sacrifices are unparalleled". Referring to an observation made by  President Roosevelt who, while giving tearful send offs to valiant US officers during the World War II, had stated "Perhaps no nation can every pay back the indebtedness they owe to their armed forces," Mr Mukherjee said, "I truly believe it and I pay my complement to the Indian soldiers". Mr Mukherjee thanked the people of Berhampur for their support and in the end, conveyed his greetings for the Durga Puja festival to all.
Earlier, on his arrival the President's cavalcade was ushered in through the newly constructed main gate of the BMS. Later, the President unveiled the 'Inauguration Wall' of the BMS and also planted the culturally significant 'Çhatim' sapling. Towards the end of the event, the President was taken on a windshield tour of BMS during which he briefly interacted with the troops of 17 Corps and the Ex-servicemen residing nearby.
Army had embarked upon this development project after the President laid the foundation stone in February 2014, describing it as an idea close to his heart. The station, spread over 252 acres of land in Nabagram, is expected to be completed by 2018 and will have a population of about 8000, including the families of soldiers.
- Wg Cdr SS Birdi