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Empowering Kashmir: ONGC’s Initiatives in Skill Development and Drug De-Addiction

ONGC's Initiatives in Skill Development

ONGC’s Initiatives in Skill Development – Young people drive change, even when they are not in charge. Young people were the hardest harmed by violent extremism worldwide. Over the last few years, the global society has witnessed a rise in child recruitment and exploitation by violent extremist and terrorist groups. Citizens in Baramulla Town feel abandoned and forgotten because there have been no local development efforts aimed at youth in recent years. 

The Indian Army, ONGC CSR, and the non-profit Research and Extension Association for Conservation Horticulture and Agroforestry (REACHA) collaborated to develop the Chinar Club program in 2016 in order to empower and support young people in securing a living. REACHA is a recognized voluntary organization under the Societies Registration Act of 1860. Youth participate in REACHA’s skill development, sports, cultural events, and other activities in collaboration with the Indian Army. 

The REACHA collaboration with the Indian Army has had a transformative effect on eradicating anti-national militant activity in Baramulla since the young were given an effective avenue to focus their energies. 

The Indian Army has played a vital role in lobbying for and supervising a variety of development activities in the Kashmir Valley. The vehicle through which these efforts are manifested is Operation Sadhbhavana, a well-organized and regulated project. 

ONGC’s Initiatives in Skill Development

A number of programs are being held under the title of Sadhbhavana in try to wean the local populace of the Kashmir Valley away from terrorism, the drug problem, and anti-national actions. These initiatives are centered on education, skill development, health care, environmental preservation, infrastructure development, and athletic events.

Since April 2016, the Indian Army, in collaboration with REACHA, has provided a platform for young people in Baramulla in the form of the Chinar 9 Jawan Club, where students from various socioeconomic backgrounds can benefit from job-oriented and entrepreneurship training to support their aspirational needs through the medium of skill development in a number of identified fields, such as basic computer and information technology. 

More than 1,000 children have received training at the Chinar 9 Jawan Club in Baramulla since 2016, with 60-70% of them obtaining work or improving their quality of life as a result of the program. 

Since July 2019, the REACHA-managed Center on the Army base has provided basic drug de-addiction therapy to about 1200 young people. Based on their abilities and ambitions, the youth are then inspired to enroll in a variety of training programs at Chinar 9 Jawan Club. 

ONGC has supported REACHA’s partnership with the Indian Army in Baramulla, Kashmir. Training programs for skill development and drug addiction recovery are now being developed. The training facility’s name is Chinar 9 Jawan Club, Baramulla.  

The army devised the Club in order to “constructively engage” with the valley’s youth and assist them in peacefully transitioning away from militancy, drug misuse, and other anti-national activities so that they might make significant contributions to the country’s development. 

The project has received a lot of attention, and during COVID-19 lockdowns, the young musicians have performed soothing, melodious music pushing the community to maintain social distance and other COVID-19 combat requirements. Since 2019-20, the Project has also attempted to assist 1200 Kashmiri youth who are commonly the target of narcotics that lead them astray.  

With the help of ONGC, REACHA built homes in Uri for people whose homes had been destroyed by rebel activities during 2017-18. This contributed to the healing of the schism and brought the army and neighboring village residents closer to the Line of Control. 

Additionally, with the assistance of ONGC, Porta Cabins have been established at Chinar 9 Jawan Club and Drug De-addiction Center to enhance the current infrastructure and ensure improved services. ONGC projects have converted to an online mode since March or April 2020, when the government proclaimed a statewide lockdown, using WhatsApp, GOTO-Meeting Apps, telephoning, and so on, despite the fact that internet in Kashmir is notoriously slow due to security concerns. The army has applauded the improvement and feels that this work in difficult circumstances will considerably strengthen our efforts to bring peace to the valley. 

Because Baramulla is a conflict zone with a history of militant and anti-national activities, REACHA has had difficulty putting these plans into effect. REACHA, in collaboration with the Indian Army and local workers, has devised innovative methods to continue the project’s work. 

Even after training, many young people do not wish to leave the state. Those who were allocated to other parts of India were quickly revealed to have resigned their jobs due to either an inability to adapt to their new environment or insufficient remuneration due to their lesser educational backgrounds.