M A I N   N E W S

UN medals for Indian troops
Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, April 15
Coinciding with its 302nd Raising Day celebrations, the Force Commander, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), Maj Gen Claudio Graziano, on Friday presented UN medals to personnel of 15 Punjab at Lebanon, tasked with enforcing peace in southern Lebanon under a UN mandate.

An impressive ceremonial parade, reviewed by the UNIFIL Force Commander and a colourful cultural programme were organised on April 13 at Ebel Es Saqi, to mark the event. The Ambassador of India to Lebanon, Ms Nengcha Lhouvum, and the Deputy UNIFIL Force Commander, Brig JP Nehra, were also present. The battalion also started a special camp yesterday to provide artificial limbs to local victims of mines and cluster bombs.

After the parade, General Graziano also unveiled a replica of the Galley, the regimental emblem of the Punjab Regiment. Thereafter, Brig-Gen Ramon Ambrasio Merino, Sector Commander East, inaugurated a dental laboratory in the unitís medical complex, according to Army Headquarters sources here.

Also referred to as INDBATT-9 (Indian Battalion), 15 Punjab, was raised on April 13, 1705, by Baba All Singh. It was inducted in Lebanon on January 2 and in a short span of four months it has carved a niche for itself by undertaking numerous humanitarian projects in its area of operations.

Specialist doctors from India have reached Ebel Es Saqi, and are conducting a medical workshop at the UN post from April 14 to 24 for measuring and fitting artificial limbs on over 150 Lebanese nationals. This project has generated immense goodwill for the Indian contingent and admiration from the locals and UNIFIL for the Indian expertise in manufacturing comfortable prosthetic limbs at very reasonable costs

As part of a roadmap charted by the unit, the veterinary doctor of the unit has conducted 63 camps and treated about 6,600 animals. During the same duration, the dental surgeon and the medical officer of INDBATT-9 have also provided specialist treatment to about 3,000 patients, sources said.

Through extensive interaction with the local population and liaison with the local administration, INDBATT-9 has identified and subsequently projected five humanitarian projects in order to improve the existing infrastructure in South Lebanon. Construction work for making a Community Centre at Al Fraidiss at a cost of $15,000 has already commenced. Similarly, projects for supplying drinking water at Bourhoz and construction of a children park at Cheeba are in advanced stages of finalisation.

Pioneering work has also been initiated by 15 Punjab in other diverse spheres of social activity for the local populace, which includes computer education, automobile engineering, environmental awareness, mine awareness, yoga camps and improving its present condition of primary school campuses.



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