High-level MHA delegation visits IB; to tour LoC today

MHA delegation during tour of border areas in RS Pura on Friday.
MHA delegation during tour of border areas in RS Pura on Friday.

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Nov 10: A high-level joint delegation from Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and State Government today visited several forward villages along the International Border (IB) in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts and would tour Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts tomorrow.
The delegation has been deputed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ascertain problems of the border dwellers in view of frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan, both on LoC and IB, causing enormous problems to the people living close to the borders.
Headed by Rina Mitra, Special Secretary (Internal Security) MHA and comprising Gyanesh Kumar, Joint Secretary (Internal Security) MHA, Director MHA RK Swarankar, Principal Secretary Home, J&K, RK Goyal and Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr Mandeep K Bhandari, the delegation visited village Flora, Satowali and Suchetgarh sector in RS Pura tehsil of Jammu district, Nanga in Ramgarh sector of Samba district and Chak Changa and Gujjar Chak in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district today.
The delegation will be visiting Dhanaka, Langar and Jhangar villages on LoC in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district and village Terwan in Poonch district. The MHA officials will return to New Delhi on Sunday.
In a brief chat with media, the delegation leader, Rina Mitra said they have been deputed to the border villages by the Union Home Minister to listen to the problems and grievances of the border people and submit comprehensive report to facilitate solution to them.
“The Home Minister wants to know your problems and solve them,” she said, adding the people have raised demands like construction of bunkers, schools in safer areas, compensation for land, health centres etc
Official sources told the Excelsior that people living along the International Border in all three districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua raised the demands like construction of individual bunkers, compensation for the land falling ahead of border fencing as they were unable to cultivate it in view of Pakistan shelling and firing, compensation for the crop loss, special recruitment drive for the youth as they were unable to focus on studies due to firing, pacing up development of border areas under Border Area Development Programme (BADP), free power and 25 per cent concession in school fees.
A number of other issues like upgrading of health centres, deployment of ambulances for timely help to shelling and firing victims, increase in compensation for cattle killed in firing and damaged houses also figured during the talks the border dwellers had with the MHA delegation in all three districts, sources said.
Meanwhile, even as the delegation is scheduled to visit Nowshera sector in Rajouri district tomorrow, Pakistan army opened firing at forward village of Lam along the LoC in Nowshera at 4.30 pm today.
However, it was small arms firing and lasted half an hour. No casualties or damages were reported on Indian side in the firing.
Yesterday, Pakistan had violated ceasefire at Kayan Nullah in Chilladi area of Poonch sector killing two cattle and causing injuries to others.
Sources said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs proposed to take up all possible necessary measures to solve problems of the people living along LoC and IB to whom Rajnath Singh had described as “strategic assets” as the people were worst sufferers of constant shelling and firing from Pakistan side.
This year, there have been large number of ceasefire violations on the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts in which a number of security personnel and civilians were martyred while many others were injured besides a number of houses were damaged and cattle perished. Pakistan has also suffered large number of casualties and damages in retaliatory firing and shelling by the Indian troops.