First NCC camp after coronavirus lockdown brings cheers on the faces of cadets in Jammu

The National Cadet Corps (NCC) camping ground Nagrota near here is agog with activities as a 10-day camp, the first after a series of lockdowns in any part of the country, is underway.
As many as 165 enthusiastic cadets, including 65 girls, are participating from various parts of Jammu region and undergoing rigorous training amid strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ward off coronavirus infection.
The Combined Annual Training Camp (CATC) started earlier this week under the aegis of J&K Directorate after the first armed squadron was assigned the task of making all necessary arrangements for its success.
“The NCC has defeated the COVID-19 and we will not stop this here. This was the first camp post COVID-19 lockdown and we are hopeful that it will help clear apprehensions and pave the way for normal NCC activities in the country,” NCC group commander, Jammu, Brigadier Satish Kumar said.
He said the permission for the camp had come from the Union defence ministry and will be followed by another camp after a gap of eight to 10 days, marking the resumption of normal NCC activities in the Union Territory.
Brigadier Kumar, who interacted with the cadets, said the main purpose of the NCC is to bring change in the youth profile of the nation by its untiring efforts and dedication. “We are working to bring out the leaders among the youth,” he said, motivating the participants to join the defence forces to serve the nation.
He said a total of 165 NCC cadets are taking part in the ongoing camp with participants drawn from all the 10 districts of Jammu region including from remote and far flung areas.
They are being given basic training like physical exercise, obstacle course, drill, weapons training, firing, map reading and groomed in a way to instil confidence among them by bringing out leadership traits, the officer said.
“At a time when colleges and schools are unable to operate, we are happy to announce that we have done 80 per cent recruitment which is a big achievement (in the prevailing situation),” he said.
In response to a question about his message to the youth, especially in Kashmir, the brigadier said he did not see any difference between the children of the valley and other parts of the country.
“We would like all the children to take part in NCC activities in a big way and dedicate themselves to the prosperity of the country,” he said, adding, “We will select the cadets from the camp who will represent the country abroad and the Republic Day parade in Delhi.”
Ankit Sharma, who is aspiring to be an officer in the Army, said he is very happy about the resumption of NCC activities.
“I am in the last year of my three-year NCC course and am hopeful of joining the Army to serve the country,” Sharma, a resident of Hiranagar area of Kathua district, said.
He said the outbreak of COVID-19 this year disrupted the training programmes, which are very helpful in shaping the life of a cadet.
“I have learnt a lot during my association with the NCC. I have undergone training at five camps last year and four camps a year earlier. This is my first camp this year,” he said.
Sumaiya Shabnam, a senior division cadet from Udhampur, said she is back in the camp after a gap of nearly 10 months.
“I had last attended the camp at the end of last year and was scheduled to return in March but the COVID-19 played spoilsport. I am satisfied to be back,” she said and lauded the efforts of the NCC camp for making all necessary arrangements like hand sanitisers and face masks to meet the challenge posed by the pandemic.
Priya, a student of Army Public School Udhampur, said she had been waiting for this day over the last six months.
“This is my first camp and the experience which I have got over the past five days is wonderful and amazing. We are living in barracks and these are being sanitised regularly,” she said hoping that her association with NCC will lay a strong base for a successful life ahead.
She said her parents allowed her to join the camp voluntarily. “I do not feel any threat. In fact, I am feeling strong to defeat COVID-19”,