ITANAGAR- Yuva Arunachal president Testan Chombay was conferred with ‘Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card and Badge’ during 75th Independence Day at Tawang parade ground on Sunday to the thunderous applause of large gathering.
Army’s Tawang-based 190 Mountain Brigade Commander Brigadier VKR Jagtap conferred the prestigious national award on Chombay, who is among 14 civilians of India and only one from the Northeast in 2021 to be honoured with this rare award. Tawang MLA Tsering Tashi and deputy commissioner Sang Phuntsok, who were also present, congratulated him for the hour.
This award recognized his selfless services in conducting recruitment rallies for army jawans and porters across this border state of Arunachal Pradesh, for diligently organising Tawang Maitree Diwas during 2003 to 2019 besides instrumental in maintaining civil-military bonhomie consistently in sensitive districts of West Kameng and Tawang.
In fact, Chombay has also been playing a very proactive role in organizing Army’s Sadbhavna Diwas, implementing Operations Samaritan initiatives, and closely working with Army during natural calamities to ensure that the suffering lots are benefitted.
The Army, which has large presence in these border districts, located along sensitive Indo-China border, takes up Civil Action Programmes to benefit the civilians and improve civil-military relations. Thus, a person of the area with greater social standing is appointed as coordinator to serve as go between the Army personnel and civilians. Moreover, Chombay is also well known for his various social services in these border areas for last many years.
The NGO National Youth Project (NYP), of which Chombay is an active member, has congratulated him for this honour.
It is worth mentioning here that he is third Arunachalee to be awarded by the Army including his uncle former chief minister Dorjee Khandu and present Lower Dibang Valley deputy commissioner Kesang Ngurup Damo.
Late Khandu, before joining politics had served in Indian Army Intelligence Corps for seven years and was awarded a gold medal for his meritorious service rendered during 1971 Bangladesh War.
Damo was conferred with ‘Chief of Army Staff Commendation Certificate’ in 1997 for his various invaluable services.
Damo was serving as circle officer of Mago-Thingu in Tawang district during 1993 to 1997 when the last road point was upto Jung and civilians, state Govt officials and Army personnel used to walk through porter track developed with 40 log bridges upto Lunger, the last border village. Heavy flow of rain water during rainy season used to wash away most of the log bridges to delink communication through porter track when he used to take a prominent role in speedy construction of log bridges to restore communication.
Indian Air Force helicopters maintain supply line in border areas of Tawang district and two M-17 choppers had crashed at Lunger and Chunga by all inboard had survived with serious injuries and rescued by teams led by Damo.
The chopper while taking off from Lunger heliport had crashed throwing out all in board before flying towards Maririjo to break into pieces. But other helicopter crashed Chunga heliport with a bang for which IAF technical team assisted by Damo had reached the spot to fly it away.
This Himalayan state has recorded highest accidents of helicopters in India whose details are available with this daily. In one such tragic crash on November 14, 1997, Union MoS for Defence NVN Somu and three top officials, including Maj Gen Ramesh Nagpal had died when their four-seater Cheetah hit a 1300 ft peak 40-km from Tawang. Dam led team had launched search operation, located the site and recovered all mortal remains to sent back to their native places for last rites.
Adventurous Damo had conquered snow-capped Gorichen (locally called Tsa-Nga-Phu), twice on 02.10,1996 and in 1999. It is the highest scalable peak in Arunachal Pradesh, towering at a height of over 21,300 ft above sea level.