STATE TIMES NEWS Udhampur: Reaching out to the students belonging to needy and poor families in remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the Army on Monday provided them Rs 1.45 crore financial assistance for studies. Army Commander, Northern Command, Lt Gen Ranbir Singh presented the financial aid to 71 selected students from the Below Poverty Line category and remote areas of Jammu & Kashmir at a function in this district of the state. The financial aid provided under ‘Sadbhavana’ to needy children included scholarships to the tune of Rs 1.45 crore, PRO defence said. Seventy-one students — 45 for the Army Public School, Beas, and 26 for Drona Boys Hostel, Udhampur — were handed over the scholarship certificates and cheques which cover the complete expenditure of their schools, including fees, boarding, lodging and transportation, he said. Speaking on the occasion, Lt Gen Singh said the Army would do everything possible within the ambit of ‘Operation Sadbhavana’ to assist the civil population of the state, especially those affected by terrorism, to address their problems. He said the Army has identified education as a priority area for the military-civic programme under ‘Sadbhavana’ in J&K. “The idea of sponsoring education of these students at the Army Public School, Beas, and Drona Boys Hostel has many benefits. The students not only get the best of education at par with any premier education institute in the country, but also get an opportunity to get to know the diverse culture of this great nation,” Lt Gen Singh said. He said the students are moulded as better citizens and integrated into the mainstream. The Army Commander also felicitated the alumni of both the institutes who had come to attend the function. One of them rose to become Lt commander in the Indian Navy and three joined the Jammu and Kashmir Police, the PRO said. The students of both the APS, Beas, and Drona Boys Hostel, Udhampur, were grateful to the Army for sponsoring their education. Adeb-Ul-Islam, a Class 11 student, who hails from Pahalgam, Kashmir, and studying at APS Beas since the past three years, said her stay at the school has changed her out look towards life. “I want to become a doctor and join the Indian Army,” she said and called upon the youth of Kashmir to become anchors of the country. Master Suhail, a Class 10th student, who hails from Poonch, was grateful to the Army for fully sponsoring his education. The contribution of the Indian Army in shaping the future generations with positive attitude as part of overall strategy in bringing normalcy in the state is well known, said Brigadier Nagpal said. “Since 1998, the Indian Army in its unique initiative of Operation Sadbhavana carries out series of civic action programmes to alleviate the problems of the civil population in the terrorist-affected and remote areas of J&K,” he said. He said every year the Army spends approximately over Rs 40 crore in various Sadbhavana activities and the major portion, i.e. over Rs 20 crore, goes to education activities, including Army Goodwill schools and scholarships.
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