The sophisticated surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from ITR at Chandipur at 9.15 in the morning
India on Monday successfully test-fired indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile that has a strike range of 350km, as part of a user trial for the Defence forces.
Describing the trial as successful, sources said the launch of the sleek missile was conducted as part of operational exercise by the strategic force command (SFC) of the Defence services.
“The missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the total launch activities were carried out by the specially formed SFC and monitored by the scientists of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of practice drill,” the sources said.
The Prithvi-II missile, developed by the DRDO, is already inducted into the Indian Armed forces.
Prithvi, the first missile developed under India’s prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads and thrusted by liquid propulsion twin engines, uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory.
The last users trial of Prithvi—II was successfully carried out from the same base on on December 20, 2012.
A unique Indo-German effort to spread hockey in a sleepy town.
If you want to see what sports can do to the socialisation process, you must visit Garh Himmatsingh in Rajasthan. Situated in what was once a small, feudal, princely state, where women still hide behind veils, the hockey stick has broken all traditional mores. You have to see the body language of girls and boys from all communities and castes—exuding self-confidence—to believe the power of sports. You would never believe that they are first-generation learners or from the dalit or minority community.
Garh Himmatsingh is a nearly 600-year old, dilapidated fort off the Jaipur-Agra highway. The nearest railhead, Mandawar, is some 10km away. Andrea Thumshirn would bring German tourists who wanted to experience a different India even as they did the popular Golden Triangle—Delhi-Agra-Jaipur. They would be taken to the near-ruins of some of these forts in and around Mandawar, spending nights at Garh Himmatsingh enjoying the rural hospitality and folk culture that Rajasthan is famous for. Chandu Naruka from the family of the erstwhile rulers of this thikana, and Dilip Chauhan (whose mother was a Naruka), Andrea’s partner in the travel business, would often discuss their dreams of uplifting the village from the quagmire of poverty, ignorance and tradition. That touched a chord in Andrea and she offered to live there and teach the village children.
Their ‘entry-point activity’ to establish credentials with the community was unique. Having been a hockey-player, she said: ‘why don’t I teach them what I am good at?’ So, they started in a small, informal way, some time in 2009, teaching the kids to play hockey and running a kind of open school for children who wanted to learn English. The Narukas renovated the fort’s tower as a restaurant serving ethnic food for tourists. The fort’s forecourt was cleared up for use as a hockey field. Being from the travel business, Andrea cannot resist saying: “This is the most ingenious timeshare arrangement we could come up with—a hockey field during the day and a cattle shed by night!”
It was this fortuitous coming together of two families engaged in travel & tourism—an Indian and a German one—that led to the setting up of Bua Sa Foundation in India and its counterpart Hockey Village India Foundation in Germany, in 2010. Bua sa in Marwari means aunt— father’s sister. I assumed that it must be in the memory of a late aunt of the Narukas or Chauhans. Andrea smiles and says “No, I am their rakhi-sister. Since the family has adopted me as their daughter, children call me bua sa. The Foundation was named after me.” Dilip jokingly says: “This development initiative on our part has resulted in business losses! Because my partner is teaching hockey and running a school here, instead of sending me tourists!”
In just three years, 70 children have been trained in hockey. Andrea raised the funding not only for hockey-sticks and uniforms but also managed the donation of a synthetic turf from Germany, with the Union sports ministry’s approval. The turf is being laid now. With justifiable pride, Andrea says, “these children can compete anywhere in the world. They have the stamina and drive, having played in such adverse conditions. What they lack is education and nutrition. We aim to provide these through the school we have started.
Already some 250 children have registered and funding for their scholarships obtained.”
They also have a tie-up with the Delhi-based NGO Hockey Citizen Group which trains 500 schoolchildren in five Indian cities and holds ‘Hockey Dhamal Series’ of matches in Delhi, annually. Andrea says, “We are looking for volunteers who can stay for a minimum of one month in our village to teach English language and provide hockey training.” In return, she promises “a feeling of satisfaction as these children are quick learners!” You know this is true, as you see an eight-year-old boy fixing Andrea’s laptop to an inverter, to play music to which the schoolchildren dance!
They are collecting donations for hockey-sticks; each costs €5. Currently, donations are routed through the German foundation directly to the village panchayat, since Bua Sa Foundation is awaiting exemption under Section 80G.
Hockey Village India
Bua Sa Foundation
Garh Himmatsingh Fort
District Dausa 321609, Rajasthan
E-mail: [email protected]
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