Srinagar: Army dedicated 150 feet long bridge connecting nine villages of Machhal sector in the frontier Kashmir district of Kupwara during “Machhal Mela” celebrations which came to an end after two months with several fun fare programmes and games on Sunday.
Defence Public Relations Officer Col Emron Muavi said the highlights of the Machhal Meal was the inauguration of a 150 feet long bridge constructed by General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) enabling nine villages connectivity from Machhal to Kupwara .
The bridge was named as Captain Ashutosh bridge in memory of the braveheart, who made the supreme sacrifice on November 8, 2020 in an anti-terrorist operation in the sector. He was awarded Shaurya Chakra posthumously on August 15, 2021.
He said, another highlight of the mela was the unfurling of the 140 feet high national flag which is one of the largest in the country with 56 feet length and 37 feet width.
A Smriti Sthal dedicated to the fallen soldiers of 56 RR (MARATHA LI) named Maratha Smriti Sthal was also inaugurated. The wall of the Smrithi Sthal has been engraved with the names of 32 bravehearts of 56 RR (MARATHA LI) who have made the supreme sacrifice for the nation.
He said Machhal Mela culminated after a series of events came to a happy end after two months during which games like Cricket, volleyball, a pony race and drawing competitions were held.
People of Machhal actively participated with full zeal and enthusiasm, he said and added the final performance by local NCC cadets marched smartly in front of the crowd. Kupwara dance group and children of local schools presented a number of dance and cultural events. A number of competitions for children were also conducted.
Maj Gen VMB Krishna, GOC 28 Inf Div was the chief guest for the event. Several army and civil officials along with members of civil society also attended.
Giving topographical picture of Machhal, Col Musavi said, it is a peaceful, picturesque valley with lush green forests , gently flowing milky streams beautiful meadows and smiling hard working village folks located approximately 50 km North of Kupwara, across the Zamindar Khan Gali, at an elevation of 8850 ft in close proximity of the Line of Control.
He said, the valley remains cut off for nearly six months in winters due to heavy snowfall. It has population of around 15000, comprising primarily Kashmiris, Pahadis and Gujjars who are engaged in agriculture and support the Army in various capacities.
The landscape is populated with nomadic bakarwals and their herds of cattle during summers.
At Machhal, the Army and the locals are a cohesive team. They are interdependent; face the vagaries of weather and Line of Control disturbances together in absolute harmony. Machhal Mela, an annual event organised by Indian Army, celebrates the Army-Awaam camaraderie, he added. (UNI)