22 Mar : Celebrating man’s unquenchable thirst to explore the unexplored, the Indian Army today launched a multi faceted expedition in the picturesque island of Agatti in Lakshadweep bringing forth the environmental concerns in the region. The Bison Blue Waters Expedition is aimed at increasing the maritime awareness of the armed forces and educating the citizens to conserve the coral reefs in the island. The expedition was flagged off by Major General Rajesh Singh, General Officer Commanding, Bison Division in a colorful function in Agatti, located at 58 km North West of Kavarati, that was attended by civil and military officials, citizens and school children.
There was excitement in the air and enthusiasm in the local population about the entire events being conducted under this unique expedition. The event was kick started by a beach marathon that saw the huge participation of school children, who ran along with jawans covering the beaches. Just after that para motorists appeared in the sky, perhaps for the first time flying over sea, much to the amusement of the islanders.
Maqbul, a fifth class student was excited to take part in the run. “I am very happy to take part in the run organized by the Indian Army”, he said. B Mohammed, the principal of the local higher secondary school was an active participant of the event. “I am proud to be associated with such a noble cause and all the students of my school are being taught the importance of preserving our environment”, he said.
Dr. Vinod, an expert from World Wide Fund-India chapter, was all praise for the initiative taken by the Indian Army. “Coral reef is a very sensitive eco-system and we need to preserve it to mitigate the effects of the global warming”, he said at the opening ceremony. He spoke on the ways of preservation of ocean life and protection of environment and asked the local citizens to preserve the coral paradise of the island.
According to the expedition team leader Col Vivek Jaswal, the team has been trained at the premier training institutes of the Indian Army and over the next six weeks would bring to the fore vital ecological concerns threatening these islands and the coral reef. The adventure team consists of six officers and fifty four other ranks of the elite Bison Division. The flagging off ceremony was followed by Power Rafting, Scuba Diving and Para Motoring. These events will also be held at Kavarati on 24 March and Bangaram on 26 March.
The expedition team will also interact with the people of Lakshadweep Islands, spread awareness about the Army and the need to preserve the fragile ecology of their Islands. A special drive would be organized on March 26th to make the youth aware about the recruitment procedures of the Armed Forces. Also, a special medical camp would be organized for the benefit of the local population. The expedition will go a long way in bringing the local population closer to the men in uniform.