Work in Progress


Work in Progress 

Mian Tufail

WE, at Kashmir Central, started a series on the role of the Indian Army in the hinterlands of the Kashmir valley in our previous edition. We continue the series highlighting the progress and the development helmed by the Indian army that has penetrated to the last mile of the Union Territory.

The Indian Army has faced numerous challenges, both internally and externally, but the enthusiasm and spirit to devolve their services is inescapable. The time has gone when the Army would have to face pelting of stones in the streets of Kashmir. Today, during any adverse situation or untoward incidents, it is the Army that is first called and requested for help. Technological improvement, leadership roles, contact establishment and the confidence-building among the youth has made the role of the Army more localised. Indeed, the Army is working tirelessly to work locally and set an example globally.

We highlight the varied endeavours by the Army that deserve more than a mention.

  • Train to become a chef!

Witnessing the boom in the establishment of cafes and restaurants, the Army, in February this year, started ‘Chef Trade’ training programme in collaboration with the India Infoline Limited (IIFL) Hospitality and Foundation under the REACHA (Research and Extension Association for Conservation Horticulture and Agro-forestry) training programme. The objective of the programme is to train 160 youths as chefs with attractive employment opportunities. The project is to help the trainees and their families financially by contributing in their economic and social development.

  • Tailoring: Earn without investment

Self-employed tailoring is a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project funded by GENPACT through the coalition of NGO REACHA and SRUJNA. The project helps women learn the tailoring trade by providing them free latest and modern machinery. Asif Plaisar, who runs an NGO, says that these micro initiatives help rural women to remain financially independent. Adds he: “The projects like tailoring or hospitality help rural women earn a livelihood. For tailoring, the trainees need not visit offices or centres; they can simply start from their homes without any basic investment. In these cases, the Army provides them machinery and well, the rest of it depends on these women. They can easily empower themselves by learning skills which will make them financially sound.”

  • Hiring of local teachers

After the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the peripheral border areas were lacking in mobile connectivity which became a huge impediment in the education of students. For Government Secondary School, Manzpatra, Kupwara, the Army hired local female teachers and tasked them to teach the local students in the school who have no access to technology. The initiative was successful in imparting education to students who had felt left out due to less technological penetration in the area.

Moreover, in Reddi village of Chowkibal area of the Kupwara district, the Army hired local tutors to teach Agniveer aspirants for the written examination. The classes were organised both in the mornings and evenings so that the aspirants could be trained early for the said examination. “The youngsters’ motivation was so high about participating in the Agniveer rallies that even Doctorate scholars didn’t shy from participating in these written and physical endurance tests. The Army guided them and the youth took the lead by participating en-mass. Today, the educated youth is aware about the benefits of being an Agniveer and the career opportunities it provides in the long run,” says Asif.

  • Plant a tree, preserve the environment

The Army’s forest division, Kamraj, with the help of Jammu and Kashmir Forest Department, recently conducted a one-day plantation drive across North Kashmir districts to generate awareness about the preservation of our environment. The locals participated massively to make the event successful and cleaned the solid waste from their surroundings. During the event, the Army highlighted the effects of climate change and how it needed to be mitigated to arrest its global impact. The importance of growing trees was widely publicised.

  • Livestock treatment

Apart from focussing on human health, the Indian Army organised a free veterinary camp in the Gujjar Warsun area of North Kashmir to treat the livestock after the vicious Lumpy-skin disease. In these border areas, where providing veterinary services is an uphill task, the Army conducted the drive to gauge the health of animals in order to minimise the effects of the viral disease. A joint team of veterinaries of the Army and the Block Veterinary Hospital, Kralpora, Kupwara treated more than 200 domestic animals on the occasion.

  • Distribution of blankets and sanitary pads

The Army came to people’s rescue in the twin districts of North Kashmir bordering Pakistan where the erratic weather pattern is no news. These districts witness harsh winters and a major chunk of these areas have very few all-weather road facilities. To help people cope with the harsh winters this year, the Army distributed warm blankets and other winter stuff among the locals. Adolescent girls who mostly work in the rural areas were invited and sanitary pads were distributed among them for better hygiene.

  • De-radicalisation drive

With the sarpanch, Panchayat members, elders and students by its side, the Indian Army organised a three-week de-radicalisation drive in the militancy affected areas of Kashmir. The Army raised awareness about the ground realities of Pakistan and the nefarious designs of the country to destabilise India and the peace in Jammu and Kashmir. During this largest gathering in Kupwara, the Commanding Officer addressed the people and informed them about the various progressive initiatives the Army was taking up throughout the region. At the occasion, the locals utilised the opportunity to highlight the challenges faced by them. The Commanding Officer assured them a timely redress of their grievances.

While talking to KC, Asif talks about the need to establish permanent de-radicalisation centres in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Says he, “After the tumultuous three decades of insurgency and radicalisation, the youth of Jammu and Kashmir were trapped in a radicalised web. The minds of the people here had been so caged that a single unfortunate incident would push the youth to take up arms against the State. But now, the situation has been brought under control though the reside remains. That needs to be deleted and that is precisely what these de-radicalisation centres will do. They will help save the future of our youth. The government can rope in the Army for the management and for manpower to make these centres successful”.


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