Bunkers for border dwellers

It is a matter of satisfaction that most of the proposed number of bunkers falling between zero to three kilometres of the International Border (IB) in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts and Line of Control (LOC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts have now been completed and can be used shortly by the villagers living there. The construction of these bunkers had to undergo lot of hiccups both in terms of time schedule, quality of construction and the number of bunkers in terms of individual and community segregation. Issue like seepage, faulty tendering process, cost escalation and suspension of construction work on a few bunkers like problems too had to be encountered , even now are being faced to some extent. Anyway, now the process of passing on possession to the concerned border dwellers shall give them a lot of respite and a psychological assurance of safety and no harm from across the border at the time of committing of violation of the sanctity of borders as has been wont with the other side all these decades. Facing intermittent but intense hostilities without such bunkers often resulted in migration of the people from their villages to safer places besides suffering damages to their houses, cattle sheds and even loss of precious lives and cattle heads.
As on date, out of as many as 8444 individual and 1461 community bunkers , 8500 having been completed and rest of them being under phases of construction is, of course, a major part of the problem having been addressed to provide protection to the border villagers against firing , shelling and other acts of hostilities from the other side of the border. However, it may be recalled that in April 2018, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir had decided to construct a total of 14460 bunkers along both the IB and the LoC to shield villagers from a persistent threat from Pakistan. Out of the total bunkers , 13029 individual and 1431 community bunkers had to be built . While community bunkers have more or less remained the same, individual bunkers are appearing to be quite less in number than required . On the other hand, it looks not convincing that some villagers can refuse to part with the small area of their land for construction of these safety shields all in their own interest , safety and protection. Unless land was readily made available , how could more bunkers be built which are needed without any alternative being around.
It was also decided about how the funds base would be arranged for building these bunkers since an amount of Rs.415.73 core was approved . If the entire process of building these bunkers had to be completed in two phases , then it will be perfectly in order to approach the Union Home Ministry for building rest of the bunkers under phase two. In fact , the process should have started side by side as the objective of the entire process ,as far as possible, is to provide a protection to more and more border dwellers. On the other hand, Pakistan has almost since fortified its positions in terms of construction of bunkers not only along the borders of Jammu and Kashmir but even along Rajasthan in which the Chinese technicians and engineers had provided to them all help and know- how, two to three years ago. In other words, we should not take any chances and not cause any delay in starting the process of constructing the additional number of bunkers required, now under phase two.
It is commendable that District Administration in the concerned districts have been directed to arrange expediting of the work on the remaining bunkers and to address the causes of any delays and areas causing impediments in the construction process. Monitoring the progress in weekly meetings with the executing agencies as proposed , was surely going to inject the necessary purpose and the intent in the sensitive project of construction of community and individual bunkers in the vulnerable border areas. Additional bunkers proposed to be built between zero to five instead of three Kilometres along IB and LoC would further infuse a sense of security and protection in the border dwellers from the violations of the borders from Pakistan .