NEW DELHI: They spent the prime years of their life guarding the country’s borders. Now, this army of exservicemen will protect the Ganga, keep it clean, stop people from throwing trash into its water and patrol its ghats.
The Indian Army is raising a battalion of 532 ex-servicemen named ‘Ganga Task Force’, including nine officers and 29 JCOs. They will be deployed in Allahabad, Varanasi and Kanpur. To begin with, 200 personnel have been mobilised and are undergoing training in Allahabad.
They will be engaged in this task for three years. Director general of National Mission for Clean Ganga Rajiv Ranjan Mishra told TOI, “Involving ex-servicemen was the natural choice considering their role in critical situations. This is part of a series to involve more people in cleaning Ganga.”
The ex-servicemen will also be involved in tree plantation on the river banks to check soil erosion, creating public awareness, participating in campaigns and patrolling the river for biodiversity protection and monitoring river pollution.
“Their deployment will bring discipline among visitors. They will work with district committees under the Clean Ganga Mission,” Mishra said. Officials said the task force in Allahabad has already raised a nursery of close to one lakh saplings and 15 lakh seed balls.
They will also work with NGOs to encourage people to get their houses connected to sewage systems.