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?Cheque? this out?

india Updated: Jan 17, 2007 00:29 IST

A SUM of Rs 10 lakh even today makes one sit up. But way back in 1971 when a young Army captain started giving cheques of Rs 10 lakh each to his relatives, and that too soon after coming back from the Indo-Pak war, the relatives might have thought that the officer had laid hands on war booty.

If you are as curious as the relatives of former commandant of MCTE, Mhow, Lt Gen M G Datar (then Captain Datar) were when they got the cheques in 1971, then read on.

When he was doing the SODE course in MCTE in 1971, the Indo-Pak war broke out. The course was adjourned and the student officers were posted to various formations to take responsibility of providing communications to respective troops. Lt Gen Datar, who is now settled in Mhow, remembers the warm wishes by the people of Mhow and nearby places to the outgoing troops at Mhow railway station. People flocked in large numbers along the way from Mhow to Jodhpur at all the stations with sweets, garlands and good wishes that raised the morale of troops.

Datar was deployed in Munnabau area of the Western Sector. The enthusiastic troops marched more than 30 kilometres inside Pakistan territory located on the old Jodhpur-Karachi railway line. The battalion commander changed the name of the village Parchim Ki Beri to Bahadurgarh after a young officer of the battalion Lt Bahadur Singh who had died in a sudden attack by the Pakistani forces.

During the victorious journey, they reached the city of Nagarparker and captured it. There they came across the stationery of a State Bank of Pakistan having a stockpile of cheque books of the bank.

These cheque books were distributed among the officers and jawans as a symbol of victory to be kept with them. Each and every thing—even the offices—resembled those everything else on this side of the Indian border, the only difference was the name Pakistan written instead of India.

Soon after returning to Mhow Captain Datar, in what was ostensibly a display of magnanimity, distributed cheques of Rs 10 lakh each to his relatives and friends who were very much surprised. Many of them even called him back to find out the reason for such generosity, as the amount was huge. It was only when Datar told them about the country’s name written on the cheques, did the recipients realise the prank played on them.

APA manpower…
WHAT IS Army Placement Agency (APA) and why would corporates like Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance approach it? The answer is simple– for good manpower. Actually, the APA is an agency, which was constituted in 1999 to provide placements after armymen’s retirement. APA, Jabalpur director Col A K Singh, who was in Mhow for a placement rally recently informed that APA is a boon for jawans and JCOs.

Until now the condition of jawans was the worst because if they were not promoted to the rank of JCOs, they would then have to retire at the age of 37. JCOs retire at the age of 45. Many a time the jawans retire when their children begin their education and some even before that. Col Singh said that APA has five offices of command level throughout the country and five nodal offices constituted by geographically dividing the country. Four big states namely Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Jharkhand come under Jabalpur office’s jurisdiction.

The Jabalpur office has provided placements to more than 30,000 retired soldiers in various departments like police, government offices and corporate sector in the last four years. It has given 10,000 personnel to the Auxillary Police Force of Bihar to fight the Naxalite menace. Looking at the success of the ex-servicemen to control Naxalite infected areas, the governments of Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh will also be having same size of police force comprising ex-servicemen shortly.

Now coming to the corporates, Col Singh says that big industries such as Ambani has demanded 8000 ex-servicemen for their upcoming refinery at Jamnagar and 1000 for other offices of Reliance. Apart from this, there is great demand of ex-servicemen in foreign countries and now they have stopped contacting private placement agencies and directly contact APA for all such requirements through their website www.apa.com.