CHHATTISGARH: As soon as a military man, all the time a military man — and one man who exemplifies this adage is Brigadier Basant Okay Ponwar. Ponwar, who fought the 1971 Bangladesh struggle, has been deputed in ‘counter-insurgency’ operations in Nagaland, Punjab, Tripura and now at Maoist-infested Bastar in Chhattisgarh, the place he has been imparting guerrilla warfare coaching to police personnel from 10 Maoist-hit states and the BSF, ITBP, SSB and the CRPF since 2005.
After superannuation, Ponwar was requisitioned by the Chhattisgarh authorities within the rank of Inspector Normal of Police. Commissioned in 1969 within the Maratha Regiment, he served the military for 35 years. Ponwar arrange a Counter-Terrorism and Jungle Warfare School at Kanker in North Bastar in August 2005 that specialises in guerrilla warfare coaching. In the course of the 45-day course, trainees are put by means of rigorous bodily coaching.
If one fails to clear it in as many days, then a trainee has to retake the course till he clears it. Earlier than this posting, Ponwar was the pinnacle of the Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare College in Warengate in Mizoram. Tucked deep contained in the inaccessible forested topography, the 800 acres space of the school, that noticed extra 36,000 personnel, has 18 firing ranges which simulate each doable battle-line a soldier can encounter throughout unfamiliar guerrilla jungle warfare.
Throughout this tenure, the brigadier has seen a number of collectors and superintendents of police come and depart the district below the executive reshuffle. The battle zone of Bastar understandably is seen as an ‘unpopular’ vacation spot, however the school has develop into nothing lower than an ‘oasis within the desert’, the credit score goes to some uncommon achievements evident on the bottom. Ponwar says: “The day on the school begins as early as four am.
The women and men are skilled bodily to fight any scenario in any climate. Their health is their precedence.” “Throughout my preliminary years, a few senior IPS officers had cautioned me that the Maoists may goal the school. I instructed them that ‘the rebels will come right here solely to satisfy their deaths’”, Ponwar provides. A person of assorted pursuits, his hobbies embrace jungle lore, high-altitude trekking, river rafting, horse driving, distant space improvement and images. His ardour to remodel the barren land right into a productive zone stands testimony to his adept dedication.
Amongst his undertakings, considered one of his key emphasis was on conserving water. With restricted sources, the officer created 11 water our bodies preserving each drop falling on the 800 acres by means of varied conservation efforts. The unreal lakes serve a number of functions. “Strategic coaching of forces throughout fight water crossing workout routines, conservation of rainwater and quench the thirst of wildlife. Such water our bodies even attracted migratory birds,” Ponwar, who had opted to serve the nation by turning down an choice to serve in Congo as a part of the United Nations Peace Pressure Mission, says.
With over 85,000 bushes planted, the coaching zone is explicitly seen with a inexperienced forest cowl. “It was so satisfying to see the plain adjustments within the satellite tv for pc imagery,” mentioned Sarguja IG of Police Ratanlal Dangi, who was a part of a short-term coaching programme right here a decade in the past. Ponwar’s wards in motion are a powerful distinction to the strange pot-bellied policeman.
Educated commandos Dhananjay Dewangan, Kundan Shah and Manoj Singh have misplaced 15-18 kg and removed sickness like knee-joint ache, hair-fall, bronchial asthma and diabetes. The horses coached right here have received medals in varied equestrian sports activities. He has additionally turned stray canines into sniffer canines who’re being utilized by the Chhattisgarh Police and different forces.