By SK Patra
The unparalleled beauty of the Kashmir Valley has been ever maintained since eternity. Due to the prevailing conflicts with our adversary areas close to the Line of Control, such as the Shamshabari region in Kupwara district have remained untouched by tourists and travelers, thus, rendering these places underdeveloped. During these difficult times when the World is battling against the deadly COVID-19 virus, the villagers of the Shamshabari region have access to limited basic Health Care Infrastructure and Medical facilities. Locals here are not well aware of the fundamentals of hygiene and sanitation and this is where the medical teams of the Armed Forces come to play their role.
Army units have always been known for their Bravery, Valour, Self-Sustainability and above all a Never Say No Attitude. The harsh training of the Army personnel makes them capable to sustain all types of physical and mental stress in treacherous mountain terrains and extreme weather conditions like in Shamshabari region. Displaying their humane side, the Army unit deployed in this region of the Valley has always kept the Health and Hygiene at utmost priority, be it the troops, the civilian porters, the villagers, the migrant bakarwals or the innocent pets around. The local folks hired by the Unit as Porters to help the Armed Forces in building defenses during Summers are not only provided with employment, food and shelter, but also are well taken care of by the Medical Officer of the Unit and his team in terms of Medical cover. In addition to the troops, regular health checkups of porters are conducted at the Unit level and adequate treatment provided to address their health problems.
Termed as “The Shamshabari Healers”, this medical team apart from giving medical assistance to the porters also visits the nearby Villages and Bakarwal camps time and again to impart the knowledge of Health and Hygiene and its importance in daily routine. The playful and ever-smiling children in these villages do not receive adequate formal education. The medical team regularly teaches these kids the basic etiquette to maintain their personal hygiene so that they can inculcate the same as their habits at a very tender age and do not fall prey to any Acute Illnesses.
Not only do the underprivileged civilians benefit from the Medical team of the Army unit deployed in this region, but also the harmless pet animals wandering in the vicinity of the Unit too. Showing compassion towards these stray dogs, the unit feeds and takes care of the pups by vaccinating them. In return, these dogs reciprocate by providing ‘Early Warnings’ against any suspicious movements around the area of responsibility proving that ‘Dogs are Man’s best friend’.
The maintenance of high standards of living in the Armed Forces has been possible by keeping the environment clean and tidy. This unit has always strive towards a healthy and clean ecosystem, thus keeping the beauty of the Shamshabari region intact. The Army personnel of this unit never shy away from providing any type of assistance to the civilians in the vicinity in order to co-exist with peace and harmony.