Citizen's Army in Nation Building
The Territorial Army is Citizen's Army of volunteers, who are gainfully employed and have zeal to contribute towards the Country's defence. Over the years, Territorial Army has emerged as a vital adjunct to the Indian Army, excelling not only in operational tasks but also in other fields like ecology, aid to civil authorities etc. The Ecological Task Force Units of Territorial Army have been at the forefront of ecological rejuvenation in extreme inhospitable terrains.
Initiative to Check Economic Migration along Border Areas
A unique initiative and vision of Indian Army has entailed plantation of high quality Walnut and Chilgoza saplings in Malari region of Uttrakhand to prevent migration of villagers. Malari region is strategically located in Niti Valley, on an axis leading to the China Border and is remotely located and cut off from Joshimath due to heavy snowfall between December-April. The locals migrate to lower regions during this period. There are no avenues of employment and even the cultivable land is inadequate for a sustainable livelihood. The project has been initiated on the directions of General Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, who conceived the idea and is the driving force behind the initiative.
The uniqueness of the initiative is that it involves all resident families in planting saplings of Walnut & Chilgoza, which will belong to them, and they would be sole beneficiaries of the fruits borne by the saplings planted by them.
The first phase of this pilot project was inaugurated at Malari on May 19, 2017. A large number of enthusiastic villagers attended the event and 4000 saplings of Walnut & Chilgoza were planted. In Phase II approximate 1,00,000 saplings will be planted over the next three years.
127 Inf Bn (TA) Eco, GARH RIF and 130 Inf Bn (TA) Eco, KUMAON have been earmarked for this project. The units have already prepared nurseries and sowed more than one lakh seedlings of Walnut specially procured from Central Institute for Temperate Horticulture, Srinagar, J&K. These saplings thereafter will be transplanted in designated areas of Garhwal and Kumaon region.
Territorial Army in Disaster Management
By virtue of their task and role, the Ecological Territorial Army units are already contributing immensely by ecological activities towards disaster mitigation. Also, the pan India locations of Territorial Army units, allows them an opportunity to be the first responders, in case of natural calamity. This capability can further be enhanced and made more effective by suitably equipping and imparting training to TA personnel.
This may best be achieved with minimal cost to the exchequer by training of Infantry Battalion (TA) & Infantry Battalion (TA) Eco on disaster Management to assist civil administration, to effectively handle, manage and tackle natural calamities and disasters, under any serious conditions. This would entail a one time expenditure on procurement/ purchase of equipment specifically required for disaster management. The availability of this highly disciplined, motivated and trained manpower will allow for speedy mobilisation and effective handling of the critical situation in faster time frame.
Territorial Army, with its unique nature and inherent flexibility continues to be in support of Indian Army in Nation building.
Distribution of Saplings to the Villagers
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Maj Gen DA Chaturvedi, ADG TA with villagers of Malari region