“Army belongs to the people and its commitment will last as long as the involvement of the people lasts…..”
1. Operation Sadbhavana (Op Sadbhavna) was launched by the army in 1998 in remote areas of Jammu & Kashmir where terrorists and anti national elements had wrought havoc by large scale destruction of government property and public assets like schools, bridges, electricity supply system etc causing severe hardships to locals. An insidious attempt was also made to alienate the common man from the national fabric. The need of the hour was not only to wrest the initiative back from the terrorists but also to reintegrate the Awaam with the national mainstream and win the proxy war abetted by Pakistan.
2. In such a scenario, where the army was looked upon as the only organization which could provide succor to the civilians, the army took up a large No of welfare and development projects under Op Sadbhavana. Spending more than Rs 400 Crs over the last fourteen years, the Army has expanded the scope and reach of projects executed under Op Sadbhavana with a view to improving the quality of life of populace residing in rural areas and in doing so winning their hearts and minds.
3. The focus of Operation Sadhbhavna in J&K has been on the core social indices of Quality Education, Women and Youth Empowerment, Infrastructure Development and Health and Veterinary Care. Educational / Motivational Tours outside J&K are undertaken to promote cross cultural exchange of students, youth and opinion makers giving them an exposure to other parts of the nation. In addition, basic needs like ‘Water Supply Schemes’, Electrification’ and Animal Husbandry’ in far flung remote areas are also given due importance while undertaking OpSadhbhavna projects based on a particpative model involving the local people, army and the civil adminstaration.
4. Schools. Quality education was identified as a prime requirement in militancy affected areas of J&K. The Army established 66 Army Goodwill Schools and provided additional assistance to approximately 1900 State Govt schools in rural areas by undertaking renovation, construction of additional class rooms, toilets, playgrounds, sports facilities, provision of furniture, computers and educational software packages, stationary, books and school uniforms for poor / needy students and established libraries and laboratories.
(a) Army Goodwill Public Schools. Two residential Army Goodwill Public Schools (AGPS) affiliated to CBSE, New Delhi having state of the art facilities at par with the best residential public schools in the country are running at Rajouri with hostel facilities for 150 students and Pahalgam with hostel facilities for 300 students respectively. These schools are meant for students from rural areas of J&K including those directly affected by terrorist actions to enable them to study on scholarship sponsored by various army formations / units so that their academic future is secured and they grow on to become model citizens.
(b) Army Goodwill Schools. 51 Army Goodwill Schools (AGS) affiliated to the State Education Board and CBSE are being run by the Army in different parts of J&K.. A large number of students hailing from Gujjar and Bakarwal communities and poorer sections of the society are imparted quality education at these schools at nominal costs or on scholarships by the Army. These schools are heavily subscribed as they provide quality education based on English medium and provide employment opportunities for local teachers and support staff. There is always a large turnout and active participation by children from these schools in all national events like Independence / Republic Day celebrations, various sports competitions and extra curricular activities indicating that these projects are well received by the populace.
(c) J&K Students on Scholarships. Some children who have suffered the vicissitudes of militancy are sponsored by the Army for education up to class XII outside the State in various residential public schools at Beas, Solan, Dehradun, Pune and Cannanore. These sponsored students are doing quite well in their studies.
(d) Asha Schools. No special schools existed in Ladakh for providing specialised education to “differently abled” children. Two ASHA Schools have therefore been been established at Karu & Kargil which provide comprehensive care to physically and mentally challenged children by trained teachers and staff.
(e) Bal Ashram. The Bal Ashrams were started by the civil administration of Ladakh during 1972-73 to provide education and lodging to children hailing from Zanskar, Dras, Leh and Kargil. Army under Op Sadbhavna also provides assistance to the civil administration in running of this Bal Ashram in terms of employment of supporting staff and provision of books, sports eqpt, uniforms, clothing, solar lights etc.
5. Hostels for Students. It was felt that there was a need for hostels to accommodate students hailing from remote areas of J&K wishing to study till high school and beyond in order to ensure the benefit of education was extended to such students. to facilitate children. Accordingly, 14 Hostels and Orphanages have been constructed with a capacity to accommodate about 700 children belonging to weaker sections of the society. Priority in these institutes is given to the children of locals killed in terrorist activities and wards of Gujjars / Bakarwal community. from remote areas to study in schools and Industrial Training Institutes.
6. Computer Education. Computer literacy centers have been established at a number of places including local government schools to provide computer literacy to children, youth and ladies who have no access to such facilities in the environment they hail from. These centers provide computer education in basics concepts of operating systems, use of MS Office software and Internet for knowledge and empowerment7. Internet Facilities. Internet facilities are being provided at 55 remote places in Ladakh and Kashmir regions for the benefit of the local population. These facilities provides the locals in the remote areas access to limitless information and exposure thereby giving impetus to the efforts of national integration besides providing education and self employment opportunities.
8. Rampant destruction of infrastructure by terrorists and anti national elements in early Nineties and inability of government agencies to undertake new projects or restoration of damaged projects left a large void in this field. The Army stepped in to provide assistance by undertaking a No of small and large infrastructure projects under Op Sadbhavana to ameliorate the condition of the local population in affected areas including construction of small foot bridges and tracks to improve connectivity in rural areas, schools, orphanages, primary health centers, community development centers, and vocational trg centers etc. Various other projects like construction of bus stop shelters, utility toilets, renovation of rural government schools, development play fields and stadia were undertaken.
9. Water Supply, Irrigation Schemes and Agriculture. Water supply schemes including those using perennial water sources, provision of water storage facilities, water filtration schemes, digging bore wells and installation of hand pumps, storage tanks etc have proved to be a major boon for the locals and have helped them to get drinking water at their doorstep. Assistance has been provided in constructing of check dams and construction of green houses.
10. Roads, Tracks and Bridges. Numerous tracks have been constructed for better connectivity in the remote areas. These have helped the locals to engage in business/commercial activity to earn a better livelihood. These tracks have indirectly helped raise literacy level in remote areas as as more number of children now avail education in schools in their vicinity.
11. Electrification. Electrification projects like distribution of standalone solar lights, solar lanterns and solar cookers, provision of solar street lights, step up transformers and generators for uninterrupted power supply have also been undertaken. In the recent past.
Health and Sanitation12. A major focus area of Op Sadbhavna is health care for the vast population residing in spread out rural areas of all three regions of J&K namely Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. With the onset of the proxy war basic health care had ceased to exist, especially in remote areas. To cater for the medical needs of these areas a number of medical aid / health centers were constructed.
These centers provide essential medical aid to the local population. These have been equipped with ultra sound, ECG machines, oxygen cylinders, nebulizers etc and assorted medical and dental equipment. Villagers are regularly educated on family planning, child care, basic hygiene and sanitation and precautions against local ailments at these Centers.
Free medicines are also provided. In addition to medical aid exhibitions displaying posters on various fatal / dangerous diseases like AIDS, Cancer, TB etc and lectures on health related issues and life style diseases are regularly organized at Primary Health Centres and Medical camps. The Army has also provided artificial limbs to deserving personnel maimed during terrorism related incidents. 13. Medical Camps. In order to provide medical aid to remote villages, medical camps are organized regularly in conjunction with civil administration. Medical check up by specialists in various fields and diagnostic facilities including X Ray and laboratory investigations are provided to patients attending such camps and free medicines worth crores have been distributed. The response from the locals has always been overwhelming. Mobile medical teams provide succor to the populace in remote and far flung areas by dispensing medical care and medicines at their doorstep.
14. Para Medical Care. Motivated youth are identified in medical camps in rural areas for further training in para medical care and first aid by the Army Field Hospitals hospitals. These men are provided civil recognized certificates for spreading awareness of hygiene and sanitation amongst their people, become self employed and be readily available for immediate medical aid in case of emergencies.15. Veterinary Camps. Veterinary Camps are regularly organized by the Army’s Remount and Veterinary Corps in conjunction with representatives of Govt Veterinary Department to provide veterinary care and advice to people rearing cattle in remote rural areas of the State.Volunteers are trained by the Army in emergency first aid and treatment of animals.
Women and Youth Empowerment
16. Women are the silent victims of terrorism who are directly and indirectly affected and do not know how to financially support themselves or their families. In keeping with the ethos of Army’s commitment towards women empowerment and welfare activities, special emphasis has been laid to create vocational training centers, where local women are taught traditional skills / crafts, made aware about personal health, birth control measures, and bringing up their children. Interaction organized with bank and government officials empower them with knowledge about banking and loan procedures. Adult literacy classes are organised for illiterate women to teach them basic reading and writing skills. Skill development training like operating of computers,, knitting, tailoring, candle making, bag making, carpets / basket weaving, jam and sauce production, horticulture, fashion designing etc are taught through local women themselves who are employed as guides. The whole aim is to make the local women become self sufficient and financially independent.
17. Unemployed youth are an ideal target group for subversion and fomenting political unrest in the Sate by terrorists and inimical elements. In order to help the youth and thwart the nefarious designs of inimical elements, numerous Youth Guidance Employment Nodes (YGENs) have been established across the State under Op Sadbhavna to create awareness about various job opportunities, competitions and eligibility criteria for jobs. Competent trainers and counselors train the youth and assist them to develop skills for seeking jobs and availing employment opportunities on their own merit in government and private sector. Skills training as mechanics, machine operators, poultry farming, animal husbandry, compounders, tourist guides, mountaineers, sportsmen etc conducted at various Vocational Training Centres help them to become self employed and integrate in to the local economy.
Educational Tours18. Educational tours are organized under Op Sadbhavana for students and opinion makers from all regions of the State to various parts of India with a view to providing them an exposure to the rich cultural diversity and varied traditions of other parts of the country and progress achieved under conditions of peace nad stability. This exposure enables them to become responsible “citizens of tomorrow” and gives them an insight to appreciate the vast natural, historical and cultural heritage of our country. These tours enable the young impressionable minds of youth to integrate with the national mainstream and act as catalysts for channelizing their aspirations to achieve higher goals in life.
Community Development Projects
19. Sports Stadia. To boost and revive sports activities in the State based on requests by the State Government, seven stadia have been constructed at Bandipur, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Budgam and Shopian. These stadia with a seating capacity from 5000 to 7000 have facilities for simultaneous conduct of a number of sports activities and games 20. Vocational Training Centres. Under Op Sadbhavna assistance is provided to the local community members to enable them to hone and develop their traditional as well as modern skills like jam and sauce making, carpet, shawl weaving, beauty and hairdressing, stitching, family welfare, child care, family planning, adult education, computers education. Etc. This enables the women and community members to become self reliant and monetarily independent. 21. Welfare of Gujjar and Bakarwal Community. The development of the essentially nomadic Gujjar and Bakarwal community is an important issue. Being tackled under Op Sadbhavana. These communities are rendered help in basic education, distribution of books, offering hostel and scholarships of their children in Army Goodwill Schools, health care, animal husbandry, development and care of live stock during veterinary camps
22. Sadbhavna on Wheels. Large swathes of J & K have not been addressed by economic development and are still not reaping the benefits of progress. The concept of Sadbhavna on Wheels envisages delivering a holistic package to particular segment of people at their doorsteps. Facilities provided include distribution of educational books, mobile schools for children of Bakarwals / Gujjars, provision of medical and veterinary aid and awareness on the achievements of Op Sadbhavna activities.
23. Projects undertaken under Op Sadbhavna have yielded tremendous results in improving the quality of life of the rural populace and have provided major benefits to the locals of the State by contributing to the local economy and generating employment oportunities for local people. The projects undertaken by the Army supplement the efforts of the State Govt in providing basic services and improving the quality of life of people in remote areas of the State and has helped in winning the hearts and minds of the locals.
“Our Motto … A Smile on Every Face”