Eco Task Force- Background

Alarmed at the eco-degradation taking place in the Shivaliks, Dr Norman Borlough, the famous agro-economist advised Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the then prime minister of India, to involve military personnel to tackle the eco problems on a war footing.

As the regular army could not be pulled out from its operational commitments, it was decided that a Territorial Army unit be raised for the purpose, enrolling ex servicemen from the region on ‘home and hearth’ concept.

This was with the dual aim of resettlement of ex servicemen and regeneration of ecology. This gem of an idea gave birth to 127 infantry battalion(ta) ecological, as a unique experiment in the world.

134 BN Eco Task Force

We visited 134 Eco Task Force on 10th April 2017 and interacted with Col. KS Jaggi, who walked us through the journey and achievements of the Eco Task Force- 134 and took us on a guided tour of the nursery.

The Eco Task Force presentation was a very useful resource for our understanding of the incredible work that the team does to Save Nature and Secure our Future.

Some of their major tasks include:

-Afforestation, Water Shed Management, Soil Conservation, Pasture and Water Land Development, Social Forestry, Assist in Mass Awareness Programme.

Followed by our first visit, on 26th of April 2017, we conducted an awareness camp on “Snakes and Snake Bite Management” at 134 Eco Task Force, Eastern Planters camp situated at Nameri National Park. The Task Force is involved with plantation and conservation of plants at Balipara Reserve Forest. Due to their regular exposure to the forest regions, information about snakes and snake-bite management techniques is critical for their safety. Our team, therefore, conducted an awareness camp led by Naturenomics™ team member, Gautam Baruah, who shared some basic information to get to know venomous and non-venomous snakes. He also talked about commonly available snakes in the region and details on how to distinguish between the venomous and non- venomous snakes, ending the session with information on primary treatment needed after a snake-bite.

The teams also discussed to collaborate further through:

– Snake Awareness Programme for the Armies by Naturenomics™ School

– Collaborative Awareness Programmes with Communities (Snake, Butterflies, Birds, conservation) – Exchange of saplings and seedlings – Technical support from Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark Team on species selection (RET species list)

– Saplings donation to Udalguri Landscape Mission, Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark Nursery and Community sapling donation drives

-Naturenomics™ School Programmes/Workshops at Eco Task Force (Workshop on Nursery Techniques)