Eco Task Force (ETF)

Eco-Development Forces (EDF) Scheme was launched in 1980s under Ministry of Defence. Under this scheme, Eco Task Force (ETF) Battalions are set up which are though under Ministry of Defence, yet the operational expenditure of it is borne by Ministry of Environment.

In the ETF battalions, the Ministry of defence deploys its ex-servicemen, preferably from within the area of operation, whereas the nuclear core of the force is constituted of regular servicemen. Some of the ETF Battalions have undertaken successful eco-restoration of highly degraded sites, for example the limestone mining areas in the Mussoorie Hills.

Background

The first Ecological Task Force (also known as Ecological Battalion) was set up in 1982, after Indira Gandhi received inputs that the problem of unemployment among retired Jawans and of the need to check deforestation and soil erosion could be solved in a single stroke. The 127 Infantry Battalion was put to task on the Shivalik hills around Mussourie, where rampant mining had caused severe damage to the local ecosystem. The results were impressive, and the Shahjanpur Range where they worked enjoys a thick forest cover today.

Soon, Eco-Task Forces were set up in Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Nagaland as well as additional battalions in Uttarakhand

Current ETF Batallions

At present, there are six ETF battalions under the EDF Scheme in Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir and Assam as follows:

Sl. No. TA Bn ID No. Year of Raising Location
1 127 Inf Bn 1981 Shivalik Hills (Uttarakhand)
2 128 Inf Bn 1981 Rajasthan Cannal (Bajju)
3 129 Inf Bn 1988 State of J & K
4 130 Inf Bn 1994 Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand)
5 134 Inf Bn 2007 Sonitpur (West), Assam
6 135 Inf Bn 2007 Haltugaon, Assam

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