NATIONAL

Christmas cakes for the troops

Chennai Dec. 24. With George Fernandes as Defence Minister, it is time for Christmas cakes for the members of India's defence forces posted in the field areas.

Although confirmation of such despatches to other field stations of the different wings of the defence forces posted in various parts of the country were not immediately forthcoming, according to officers of the Coast Guard here, the eastern region of the maritime force based in Chennai has received 80 kg of plum cakes, all in convenient slices.

The Coast Guard's regional wing, divided into four districts with their headquarters in Haldia, Paradeep, Visakhapatnam and Chennai, has 1,500 officers and sailors attached to it.

In the past few days, Coast Guard staff here have been busy packing and despatching cakes so that the consignments reached all its stations and detachments in time for Christmas. ``It should have reached everyone in time,'' said Uday Narayan Chitnavis, Commander, Coast Guard Region (East).

In 2001, when Mr. Fernandes flew to the Siachen Glacier to spend Christmas with the officers and jawans posted in the extremely inhospitable outpost, he had taken a consignment of Christmas cakes with him.

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