territorial army: 5 of 6 Railways Territorial Army units to be disbanded | India News

NEW DELHI: The railway ministry has decided to disband five out of the six units of the Railways Territorial Army, an auxiliary force that was raised in 1949 under the Territorial Army Act, 1948 as a second line of defence which is mandated with maintaining rail communications in forward areas during active hostilities and essential rail transportation in the country “in the event of a grave national emergency”.
The five units of the railway engineers regiments that will be disbanded as per the ministry’s June 3 order are located at Jhansi, Kota, Adra, Chandigarh and Secundraband. Only one Railways Territorial Army unit at Jamalpur, Bihar, will be kept operational on the 361-kilometre route connecting New Jalpaiguri to Rangiya in Assam, covering the critical rail link through the Siliguri corridor up to Rangiya, as per the “endorsement” of the defence ministry, the order said. A voluntary force of personnel drawn from the citizen-ry, the Territorial Army (TA) comprises non-departmental TA units and departmental TA units. Non-departmental units include Infantry Battalions (with which I&B minister Anurag Thakur is affiliated). Departmental units are those attached to the Railways, the oil sector, health services and ecological sector.
The railways ministry has given an assurance that “uninterrupted rail communications will be maintained towards northern and eastern borders at all times”. At pre- sent, the Railways TA units at Chandigarh and Adra in West Bengal served as second line of defence for northern and eastern borders, respectively. The ministry’s orders to the directorate general of territorial army also sought “immediate action for disbandment of five railway engineers regiments. . . within shortest possible time and not exceeding nine months” from June 3. The railways TA, in particular, has been an active participant in the two India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971.

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