The Assam Rifles, the oldest central paramilitary force of the country exclusively deployed in the North East, has 188 cases of HIV/AIDS among its personnel, its Director General Lt Gen Bhopinder Singh said in Shillong on Friday.
Addressing a special 'Sainik Sammelan', the DG said "everyone must act forcefully with firmness, urgency and utmost seriousness to prevent the further spread. Everyone must learn to live in the surrounding environment in a dignified manner."
Lt Gen Singh, who will retire this month-end, said in the last two years, the Assam Rifles has been able to control diseases like malaria, jaundice and tuberculosis.
With the troops being permanently deployed in the Northeast, plans were approved for making more accommodation in places like Shillong, Guwahati, Imphal, Jorhat, Tezpur, Agartala and Dimapur so that maximum families of the personnel could stay in closer locations while they were serving in the region, he said.
Highlighting various developmental work undertaken during his tenure, the DG expressed happiness for efforts being taken for uplift of quality of life and welfare of the personnel including those posted at far-flung areas.
He encouraged the troops to carry on the good work carried out by them and live upto the reputation of being the "friends of the hill people", a sobriquet for the Assam Rifles.
Lt Gen Singh said in his military career spanning over 41 years, the last two years were the "most satisfying" ones which earned him the Param Vishist Seva Medal, the highest award which was possible because of the hard work by all ranks and file.