Maj Gen Alok Naresh launches 'Siamzilna leh Kilamthakna'Skill Development Centre to train SoO cadres at ZRA Camp

Our Correspondent
CHURACHANDPUR,    Oct 13: Inspector General Assam Rifles IGAR (South), Maj Gen Alok Naresh on Wednesday launched the first of its kind skill development programme, "Siamzilna leh Kilamthakna" (New Skills, Renewed Lives) organised for cadres of the armed outfits under SoO at ZRA’s Muvanlai Camp located at New Teikot in Singngat Sub-division, Churachandpur.
‘I am happy to announce that today is a historic day. We have plans on which the State and Central Government are on the same page and in case we find a good response out of this (skill development programme), we have plans to improve it further. Rather a bigger plan so that a larger number of cadres can benefit from it’, declared Maj Gen Alok while addressing the gathering at ZRA’s first designated camp.
The Inspector General had landed at Singngat Sub-divisional Headquarters on a helicopter and thereafter took the rugged road to launch the programme.
While lauding the ZRO/ZRA for taking the initiative, he said it was them who have made the programme possible.
As it is the first time the Government has launched skill development programmes inside a designated camp of armed outfit, it would open up flood gates, from all stakeholders, he said.
Maj Gen Alok also mentioned that the Assam Rifles have plans for all other camps too while adding that they have spoken to the State and Central administration and if they are of the opinion that there is willingness among the armed groups and their cadres, the larger units even to the scale of industrial units and processing plants, would be on the menu.
"These units will be owned by them (SoO groups) and in which only they will work, and only they will reap the benefits of that. It therefore is a win-win situation for all", he said.
The Skill development centre is a critical requirement to impart life skills for the armed cadres who will soon be amalgamated into the mainstream and help get them back to normal life. For that there is a requirement of empowering them. This is just a small beginning from the side of Assam Rifles, he maintained.
The Khuga Battalion AR have coordinated along with Humanism Foundation which works in collaboration with NSDC to train the cadres in carpentry, sewing and Information Technology.
The ZRO/ZRA has separately addressed the press on the sidelines of today’s event to thank the Indian Army for starting a programme to hone the skills of its cadres. Such programmes have been constantly suggested to the Government since 2010 in JMG and SoO meetings as the welfare of SoO cadres becomes a serious concern as their stipend were never paid on regular basis, and were compelled to explore ways and means to sustain their lives.
The outfit also acknowledges that their cadets require re-orientation and new skills as they prepare to become civilians, in anticipation of an honorable solution.
“As we begin to take the process of becoming a civilian, we prayed that the BJP led Union Government fulfilled what they promised to UPF leadership led by ZRO President in February 19, 2017 at Guwahati ie the creation of Sixth Schedule based Autonomous Territorial Council with BTC model in Manipur. Such restructuring of hill areas administration in Manipur cannot be delayed further to protect and promote the political, economic and social well-being of the hill-tribes, based upon the principles of equal opportunity,” said Ketheos Zomi, secretary external ZRO while addressing the press along with KC Smack, secretary GAD ZRO and several commanders of the group.
Camp Muvanlai, as it is called, has drawn attention of late as the 80 odd cadres located here reaped a bountiful harvest from their jhum fields and organised Thanks Giving programme on August 8, 2021.
The Camp was inaugurated by Brigadier S Mehta on  September 17, 2010 as one of the first SoO designated camps. In December the same year the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram visited and interacted with the group’s leadership at the camp along with the State’s Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh.
A press release issued by IGAR (South) said approximately 73 cadres of ZRA are currently residing at Camp Muvanlai of the ZRO/ZRA. The ZRO/ZRA were the pioneer group to sign the SoO agreement with the Government of India in August 2005. They formed an umbrella organisation called UPF and the ZRO president became the first chairman of UPF.
In August 2008, UPF and KNO, the two umbrella organisations of UG groups signed a tripartite SoO agreement with the Government.