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Govt to approach MHA for immediate sanction of more bunkers in border areas

All 95 approved under pilot project, BADP completed

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Mar 5: As all the 95 bunkers approved under pilot project and Border Area Development Programme have been completed and are ready to use by the border dwellers in Jammu district, the State Government is going to approach Union Ministry of Home Affairs for immediate sanction of bunkers in all the border districts so as to save the lives of people during firing and shelling from across the International Border and Line of Control.
Keeping in view constant threat to lives of border dwellers due to firing and shelling from across the International Border by the Pakistani Rangers, the construction of 35 community type bunkers was taken up in Jammu district under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) during 2015-16 financial year.
Moreover, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had approved construction of 60 bunkers at the rate of Rs 5 lakh per bunker in the border blocks of Jammu district as pilot project. While all the 35 bunkers taken up under BADP were completed in time, some bunkers out of 60 sanctioned under pilot project encountered problem due to high underground water table but the same issue was later resolved.
Now, all these 95 bunkers are complete in all respect and their keys have been handed over to the responsible villagers so as to ensure prompt use in case of firing and shelling from across the border by the Pakistani Rangers, official sources told EXCELSIOR, adding many of these bunkers were even put to use by the people during previous incidents of border shelling and firing.
As far as 60 community type bunkers under pilot project are concerned, maximum 12 each have been constructed in Arnia, Suchetgarh and Pargwal blocks, which bear the maximum brunt during border skirmishes while as 10 have been set-up in Marh, eight in R S Pura and six in Akhnoor.
Keeping in view the success of bunkers sanctioned under pilot project and BADP, the State Government has decided to approach the Ministry of Home Affairs for sanction of more bunkers for all the districts having International Border and Line of Control with Pakistan, sources said while disclosing that Government has already submitted a proposal to the Central Government for setting up of 20,125 community type bunkers in 448 identified border villages costing Rs 1006.25 crore.
This proposal is aimed at covering a population of 4,02,455 close to the border areas in the districts of Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch, sources said while informing that proposal was sent to the Government of India about two years back but MHA was awaiting the successful completion and use of those sanctioned under pilot project and BADP in Jammu district.
“The State Government will vigorously pursue clearance of this proposal albeit in phases so that adequate number of bunkers are constructed in all the border districts, which will prevent migration of people during shelling and firing from across the International Border and Line of Control”, sources said.
According to the sources, Jammu district administration has received demand from the border dwellers for construction of 204 more bunkers. Now, 27 more bunkers have been proposed in Arnia block, 13 in Suchetgarh, 10 in R S Pura, 8 in Phallian Mandal, 32 in Marh, 5 in Akhnoor, 60 in Pargwal, 33 in Khour, 11 in Samwan and 5 in Kharah Balli for which an amount of Rs 1020 lakh is required.
“This demand of the border dwellers has been projected before the Home Department of State for consideration at a time when more bunkers are sanctioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs”, sources said, adding “similar exercise is also being conducted in other border districts so that hostilities on the part of Pakistan don’t either compel the people to migrate or snatch their lives”.
They informed that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who holds the Home Department portfolio, may also personally take up clearance of proposal already submitted to the Union Government with the Home Minister Rajnath Singh so that funds are released as early as possible for construction of more bunkers.

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