Belagavi ( earlier known as “Venugrama” or the “Bamboo Village”) is one of the oldest, strong, prominent and well cultured historical place nestling high in the Western Ghats. The old town area with cotton and silk weavers stands gloriously besides the modern, bustling, tree-lined British Cantonment. Step out of the forts and you have a wide choice of temples and churches to visit. Belagavi has an enviable heritage and offers much to be discovered. It lies in the zone of cultural transition between Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa with a known antiquity clearly traceable upto 2nd Century A.D. Due to its proximity with the states of Maharashtra and Goa, Belagavi has acquired the cultural flavour of these states and blended it with the local Kannada culture to create a rich heritage, which is unique in its manifestation. It is also known as Malenadu or Rain Country and the vegetation here is verdant green throughout the year. Well, centuries have passed and today it is an entirely different story. Belagavi has now become one of the important and considered district in the state of Karnataka. Belagavi is now marching with a tag of fast growing, redeveloping district with a population of 47,79,661 as per 2011 Census. Belagavi is exactly at the center between Mumbai and Bangalore. So, Stay a while and discover Belagavi…….The Belagavi fort, a massive structure that occupies its position in the center of the town was built in 1519. The fort houses some mosques that are several centuries old and a Jain temple, Kamal Basati, which hasan idol, Neminantha, made of black stone. The idol dates back to 1204 A.D.
Belagavi has a series of higher education centers including 3 universities to drive the knowledge sphere in the district
Visveshwariah Technical University
Rani Chenamma University
It has a staggering 180 Degree Colleges along with 9 Engineering Colleges, 15 Polytechnics, 2 Dental College, 2 Medical College and 7 Indian System of Medical Colleges’ that establish the education sector in the district.
airmen training school
Belgaum camp along with an airstrip was built in the early 1940s. This camp was set up as South Eastern Headquarters of the Allied Forces during World War II.
Situated adjacent to Belgaum airport, it was an ideal, peaceful and serene location for the grit and grind of military training of RAF in 1942. A three-foot pillar erected by RAF in 1942-43 stands as a memento and reminds us of RAF days at Belgaum.
The airstrip at Sambra was built in the 1940s. No 672 Squadron of the Royal Air Force was active at Sambra Base during World War II from February 26 to 30, 1945. The squadron was moved to Sambra to use it for airborne operations by South East Asia Command.
In 1948, Belgaum base camp was taken over by the Special Reserve Police of Karnataka. In 1961, a detachment landed at this base to carry out specific operations for Goa liberation. No 1 GTS, located at Jalahalli, was shifted to Sambra, Belgaum in 1963. It was renamed as Administrative Training Institute (ATI) in 1980. Later, the ATI was renamed as Airmen Training School (ATS) in 2001. It was reassigned the task of conducting Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT).
In 1961, the Indian Air Force was tasked to provide air support to the massive ground force deployed for Goa Liberation. The AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command, Air Vice Marshal Eric Pinto, was appointed theatre commander of the IAF operations for Goa Liberation.
It was at Sambra that most of the air components were concentrated. No 45 Squadron had their main detachment of 8 aircraft based there. No 17 Squadron had one detachment of Hunters for air defence. Harvards, Otters and Mi-4 helicopters performed the communication and command duties.
With the introduction of re-structured trades in IAF, the Modular Pattern of Training (MPT) came into effect from April, 2006. Under MPT, training is conducted in modules. All ab-initio trainees undergo JBPT of 12 weeks at Basic Training Institute (BTI). It is followed by modules of trade training at various Trade Training Institutes. The trainees undergo three modules in the first eight years of their service.
All ab-initio airmen recruits undergo twelve weeks of Joint Basic Phase Training (JBPT) which aims to inculcate service ethos, value system and military bearing amongst the recruits. The Institute conducts four JBPT courses annually and trains 8800 ab-initio trainees every year.
BTI is headed by a Chief Instructor of the rank of Wing Commander. The recruits are trained at five different Squadrons, namely Katre, Lal, Latif, Majumdar & Mehar. The curriculum includes General Service Training (GST) and General Service Knowledge (GSK), apart from focus on improving the standard of English, Hindi and Basic Computer knowledge.
In addition to the above, Field Craft Training Camp (FCTC) is also conducted in order to acquaint the trainees with field situations and survival techniques.
Adequate sports and games events are organised, to instil sportsmanship, camaraderie and to emphasize the importance of physical fitness among the trainees. Software named ‘KARM’ has been successfully developed by this Station for allotting trades to the airmen recruits.
Yoga is conducted on all Saturdays. Training on standard obstacle is imparted to the trainees to enable them to surmount similar types of obstacle a soldier is likely to come across in field situations. Besides, swimming proficiency and life saving methods are also imparted.
Construction of a 1000-trainee accommodation is underway at the Station to meet futuristic training requirements. The Station has also taken an initiative to make itself a paperless organisation. As of now 19 classrooms are equipped with interactive ‘IDEA’ boards, matching the latest trends in the fields of training. As part of Vision 2020, the Station aims to equip all the classrooms with latest training aids and ergonomics.
ATS, Belgaum has handsomely contributed towards crafting a disciplined and valuable work force, capable of undertaking challenging multi-skilled tasks of restructured trades in the future.
inputs: Wg Cdr Gerard Galway
defence training centres
Belagavi’s salubrious climate, proximity to the coast and strategic position near Portuguese Goa commended it to the British as a suitable location for an army training centre and cantonment, which it continues to be today for the Indian Armed Forces, along with an air force station of the Indian Air Force. The British had a sizeable infantry post here, having realised the military importance of its geographical location. Perhaps that is one of the reasons for Belagavi’s sobriquet “The Cradle of Infantry”.
Development of a rail network for movement of resources and later troops was one of the means employed by both the East India Company and the British to exert control over India.
Belagavi houses the Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre (MLIRC). It also houses the Commando Training Wing which is a part of the Infantry School, Mhow, where the country’s infantry commandos are trained in endurance, escape and evasion, guerrilla and commando warfare techniques and to live off the land.
The commando course at Belagavi is mandatory for all infantry officers. Officers of other arms and services and even some foreign officers undertake the course. In between the military hospital and the commando training centre there lies the eminent Belgaum Military School, established in 1945 spread over an area of 64 acres