TA Blog-2 by Gen Chaturvedi
This is the second blog on TA by Gen Chaturvedi. Incidentally, Gen Chaturvedi ran an ultra-marathon (60 km) when he was serving as a Brig in NSG about 4 years back. These are his words:
Back in 1948, TA started with a handful of infantry battalions and was popularly called as the peoples’ army because any Indian from any walk of life could join it. These battalions identified with the states they were located in and interacted closely with the functionaries of the state like the Governor, Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and others. Prime Minister’s Parade was also instituted in which the TA contingents and tableaus participated and the Prime Minister took the salute. Sometimes in the late 1990s/ early 2000 the Defence Minister started taking the salute and then some years later the Chief of the Army Staff started taking the salute. This parade has not been held since 2017 because of the situation on the borders and the extensive operational deployment of the TA.
This is also a pointer towards the TA metamorphosing into a professional, competent and dependable force whose services in the disturbed areas of our country have become essential. TA, initially, had an odd Air Defence unit and a couple of TA field hospitals were also raised. Similarly, some railway and oil sector TA units were also raised.
Role in Ecology
In 1982, the then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, on the advice of a German Environmentalist, ordered raising of a TA Environmental Task Force, comprising ex- army men, to save the hills of Mussoorie, which had been devastated by incessant and brazen limestone quarrying. This force was raised in a record time of 45 days mostly from Garhwali retired soldiers and was named as 127 Ecological Task Force (Garhwal Rifles). It was able to not only stop the limestone quarrying but also green up the whole region in 8 years. The excellent performance of the unit motivated the raising of nine more such units, the latest being a composite ecological task force raised to help clean the Ganga. These ten task forces are deployed in the states of J&K, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Assam.
Rest in the next blog