HOW ASSAM RIFLES BUILT ‘PEOPLE’S EFFORT ROAD’ WITH LOCALS - The Daily Guardian
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HOW ASSAM RIFLES BUILT ‘PEOPLE’S EFFORT ROAD’ WITH LOCALS

In Covid-19 times, 44 Assam Rifles extended its support to repair the vital Tamei-Dikhuiram road, which connects many far flung villages both in Manipur and Nagaland.

Ashish Singh

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Dikuiram, a village located on the banks of Barak River in Tamei Sub-division of Tamenglong district. It is located approximately 22 km away from Sub Divisional HQ at Tamei by a single road. It is only through this road that another roughly 35 villages in the hinterland are connected to Tamei. The villagers from both sides of Barak River in Manipur and Nagaland are presently dependent on this vital road for accessibility to health and better market facilities in the nearby Tamei. These villagers were facing acute hardship due to the depleted condition of this road for a long time. There were many instances when they faced a pinch of poor road communication.

The locals have lost their beloved ones due to poor health facilities in these remote far flung villages. This single road is a lifeline to as many as 35 other villages in the area. In absence of good road connectivity all these villages have been fighting the same battle for having better access to education facilities, health and markets. The generation-next from these villages were unable to get quality education due to lack of infrastructure in the village. They were unable to get full benefits of various government schemes as the villages are only connected with Sub-div HQ with a single Tamei-Dikuiram road. Tamei-Dikhuiram road is vital for the far flung and inaccessible areas of Tamei sub division of Tamenglong district, Manipur.

It not only provides connectivity to Dikuiram village but also to Langparam, Taiparam, Katang, Magulong, Inem and several other villages. The importance of the link does not stop in Manipur but extends to the neighbouring state of Nagaland too. The road further connects to the town of Tenning in Peren District of Nagaland and further connects to the important city of Dimapur via district headquarter Peren and Jaluki. Hence the road provides an alternate connectivity to the Tamenglong-Dimapur link.

HOW IT WAS BUILT

In these tiring times of Covid-19 restrictions, came a new ray of hope for the remote rural areas of Tamei subdivision in Tamenglong. 44 Assam Rifles extended their support to repair the vital Tamei-Dikhuiram road which connects many far flung villages both in Manipur and Nagaland. In absence of any government assistance to repair this depleted road connecting as many as 35 villages in hinterland, 44 Assam Rifles under the aegis of 22 Sect Assam Rifles(AR)/ Inspector General Assam Rifles(IGAR)—EAST took the initiative & started repairing the link road by employing manpower and machinery. The road had pit holes, water logging, bamboo bushes falling on the road with a collapsed drainage system. The late monsoon rains too were hindering the smooth repair works to progress. The prevailing security situation in the area further precluded these jawans to work with proper security gear under security cover. All these odds didn’t deter these determined human hands to bring a social change in the area.

PARTICIPATION OF LOCALS

Taking motivation from the initiative of 44 Assam Rifles, the locals especially youth from Dikhuiram village also pledged to toil in the sunlight. Leaving behind their farm work and household chores, locals joined hands with Assam Rifles to change the fate of many more villages in the hinterland. It was a dream to achieve self reliance and contribute something constructive to the society which motivated the youth to share the load along with the jawans. The zeal of giving a better future to the next generation kept them motivated to pursue their dreams. The repair work had started on 12 October 2020 and got completed on 4 January 2021. Working against all odds, it took 85 days to complete the repair work of the 22 km stretch of the road. The repair work has come as a New Year gift for the villagers as now they will have access to better education, health, employment, government developmental schemes and markets for self reliance opportunities.

THE ROAD-OPENING PARTY

The road was inaugurated and dedicated to the locals of the area on 9 February by IGAR (EAST) in presence of a huge crowd from nearby villages. Speaking on the occasion he asserted people to be self sustained, acquire professional skills and contribute constructively in the nation development. While addressing the crowd the IGAR(E) sought cooperation from the villagers so that the SF and civil population can move synchronously towards development of society. He stressed upon the importance of roads with the point that roads act as a gateway to development and prosperity. Proper roads are precursor to infrastructure development, boom in business, better education, rise in employment and ultimately better standard of living. He insisted upon getting better education and pay back to society. Being the future of the nation, the youth has greater responsibilities but at the same time have an ocean of opportunities. He also pressed upon the importance of learning two prominent languages of the nation Hindi & English, which will equip them to face the society effectively & efficiently. He finally asked for cooperation of the locals with the SF and the civil governing bodies so that the insurgent activities can be curbed and the government resources can be utilised for what they are meant for without any scope for corruption.

Speaking on the occasion the Commandant of the Tamenglong Assam Rifles battalion thanked the locals especially the youth and women folk who fighting all odds kept working selflessly to unbind a new era of development in the area. This project is a true example of self reliance and sustainability through bhagidari by all the stakeholders. The active participation by the people has been honoured by naming it as the People’s Effort Road. This road shall not only connect places but shall connect hearts in the Liangmai tribal areas on both sides of the Barak river. With better repaired roads the villages shall have better and faster link to Dimapur market through Nagaland. He asserted the importance of being united in all efforts. He also called upon the youth to constructively and progressively contribute towards nation building and development. This singular example of people participation with security personnel shall usher a new era of friendship and trust between the two. Many other far flung areas can take a lesson or two from this people’s effort road. It has not only brought people together but brought them closer to security personnel in the area.

As the road was dedicated to the spirit and grit of the locals the enthusiastic villagers sang songs and danced to express their happiness over what they have achieved together with security forces in the area. These achievers were felicitated by the Assam Rifles further strengthening the bond of friendship with the locals. The locals along with Assam Rifles have written a new story of self-reliance as professed by the Prime Minister. Certainly the synergised efforts of Assam Rifles and locals have shown a light of hope to the villagers in the present trying situation of Covid-19 pandemic. The vibrant picturesque beauty of villages on either side of Barak river in Manipur and Nagaland has been added with another feather. This repaired road shall bring the happiness, smile and warmth back on people’s faces. This is what makes this area so vibrant and picturesque. The story of achieving the dreams of a better and improved road connectivity is incomplete without the narrative of locals together joining hands with security forces in achieving this rare feat. The energy of the youth if channelised properly can rewrite the self reliance and self sustainable dream of a society. This is Naya Bharat where you yourself plan, execute and contribute towards development and nation-building. The Assam Rifles in the area has ushered new developmental avenues for the locals by repairing this vital road. The government agencies can reach these villages more conveniently. The villagers too could be benefited from various social welfare schemes of the government. Indeed the People’s road is not only a road repaired by meagre resources but, it reflects the humane grit, will power and energy to succeed against all odds.

THE ROAD AHEAD

The repaired road has given hope and opened a spectrum of opportunity for students of these far flung villages around Dikhuiram to avail better education facilities at Sub-division HQ Tamei. The charm on the faces of the students from the area and satisfaction in the eyes of parents is evident as they can see the bright future for their wards. Also the better connectivity shall definitely encourage tourists to visit and enjoy the scenic beauty of quite a serene place. The place has ample to offer for an adventurous experience on the banks of Barak River. With tourists visiting Dikhuiram, it shall open better avenues for the locals to generate a handsome income.

An occasional traveller Shabnam who came from Hyderabad for some social work in the area upon seeing the depleted condition of the road felt pity for the people who for no faults of their are being deprived of their basic right of living a dignified life. However, when she saw that 44 Assam Rifles had empathised with the trouble which villagers were experiencing in their routine life and employed its resources and manpower to repair the road, she felt ecstatic and conveyed her thanks and best wishes to Assam Rifles. Another traveller who hails from Tamenglong and was riding on his motorcycle to New Magulong village to visit his friend got surprised to see the coordination, zeal and determination with which the Assam Rifles and locals were working together. He voluntarily gave his precious three hours and assisted the team working for a noble cause.

The news of joint effort of Assam Rifles and locals has spread in the whole district, motivating other villages to take such initiative in their respective areas for self-reliance and ushering development there. This team effort has made a note and shall be written in golden words in the history of development of Tamenglong district.

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Defence

‘ARMY CAN MEET ANY CHALLENGE TO SAFEGUARD COUNTRY’

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The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.

Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.

On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”

He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”

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Defence

SOUTHERN NAVAL COMMAND OBSERVES INTERNATIONAL COASTAL CLEAN-UP DAY IN KOCHI

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The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.

Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.

Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.

Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.

Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.

During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.

To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.

Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.

With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.

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Defence

IAF TO HOLD AIR SHOW OVER DAL LAKE IN SRINAGAR ON 26 SEPT

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An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.

The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.

The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.

More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.

During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.

Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the

IAF, he said. 

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Defence

ARMY ORGANISES EXHIBITION IN JAIPUR TO COMMEMORATE INDIA’S VICTORY IN 1971 WAR

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JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.

Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.  

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Defence

BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit

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The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.

BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.

“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”

As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.

Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.

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Defence

IN FIRST FOREIGN VISIT AFTER TAKING OVER AS CDS, GEN BIPIN RAWAT TO VISIT RUSSIA, US

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In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.

Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.

The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.

The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.

The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.

The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.

The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services. 

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