The over 13-lakh strong Army on Monday kicked off the “rejoining process” for the well over two lakh soldiers who were on leave, deployed on temporary duty or undergoing training courses in different parts of the country when the nationwide lockdown came into force last month.
“The rejoining process will be conducted in a planned and phased manner. It will take time,” said a senior officer. As per the broad guidelines issued by Army headquarters, soldiers rejoining their units under the Northern Command in J&K and Eastern Command in the north-east, which are responsible for the fronts with Pakistan and China, will be given the topmost priority.
All Army Medical Corps, Army Dental Corps and Military Nursing Services personnel will also fall in this category. Last week, the Army had run two special military trains to transport soldiers from south India to Jammu and Guwahati, as was reported by TOI.
From Monday onwards, the Army headquarters in New Delhi as well as its various command and formation headquarters also started functioning with around 50% strength instead of the bare minimum staff deployed earlier.
Similar was the case for the much smaller IAF and Navy. The defence ministry at South Block, in turn, was working with all deputy secretaries and above, with around one-third of the support staff.
In the rejoining process in the Army, personnel will be classified as `Green’ (who have completed the 14-day quarantine period), `Yellow’ (who need to undergo the 14-day quarantine period) or `Red’ (those who are symptomatic and require isolation and further treatment in military hospitals), as per the new instructions.
“Soldiers who were on leave at places within 500-km of their units are allowed to directly report for duty by using private transport. Other soldiers will report to the nearest station headquarters,” said the officer.