JAMMU, Jan 16: Government has yet not completed the assessment of damages caused by firing and shelling from across the border by the Pakistan Rangers last year and affected people will have to wait for ‘unspecified’ period to obtain compensation of mere Rs one lakh.
This came to the fore from the reply furnished by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in response to the question of National Conference MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar in the Legislative Assembly today.
“The assessment of structures damaged due to border shelling during 2016 is still under process”, Mehbooba Mufti, who is also Minister Incharge Home Department said, adding “the compensation at the rate of 50% in respect of loss to immoveable property damaged due to border shelling subject to the ceiling of Rs one lakh will be paid after completion of formalities”.
However, she failed to specify the time-frame for completion of damage assessment exercise, which means that there is no time-frame for providing compensation to the affected border dwellers.
She informed the House that during the past two years a total of 26 persons were killed and 158 injured due to firing and shelling in the border areas. During the year 2015, 14 persons lost their lives in border firing while as during 2016 the firing and shelling from across the border claimed 12 lives.
The districts affected due to border firing and shelling included Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri, Poonch and Kupwara. She further informed that an amount of Rs 42.35 lakh has been provided as compensation for the loss of lives and injuries to the civilians in the border firing and shelling.
About the steps taken for safety of border dwellers, the Chief Minister said that a proposal for construction of as many as 20125 community type bunkers at various places along the International Border and Line of Control in Jammu division has been submitted to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for an amount of Rs 1006.25 crore.
However, the MHA has approved construction of 60 concrete community type bunkers at the rate of Rs 5 lakh per bunker in the border blocks of Jammu district as pilot project. “The construction work is in progress and up to ending December 2016 an amount of Rs 176.87 lakh has been spent against the allocation of Rs 300 lakh”, Mehbooba Mufti said.
Replying to query regarding steps contemplated for safety and security of the border residents in view of escalating unrest on Indo-Pak border, the Chief Minister said that during the recent incidents of cross border firing various measures were taken for the safety and convenience of the people residing in the border districts.
“The affected families were shifted to safer places temporarily in Government and private accommodations where they were provided all basic amenities”, she said while disclosing that security was augmented in the border areas and anti-infiltration grid strengthened. Moreover, police deployment was increased and adequate security provided in the border villages to ensure protection of property.
“Majority of the people returned to their homes after improvement in the situation on the border”, Mehbooba Mufti said.