Centre approves Rs 400 cr, J&K’s 10 distts to benefit

Major boost to infra development on borders

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Sept 3: Infrastructure development in 10 districts of Jammu and Kashmir, which share borders with Pakistan and China, will get a major boost with the Central Government today approving Rs 400 crore for 10 border States including J&K even as it widened the ambit of Border Area Development Programme (BADP) and included more facilities like construction of helipads and promotion of border and rural tourism.
Sources told the Excelsior that Rs 400 crore approved by the Central Government for development of border areas was in addition to Rs 1100 crore given during 2017-18 for all-round development of villages located along the borders with different neighbouring countries and would give major push to development works in the border belt.
Five border districts of Jammu including Jammu, Samba and Kathua, falling along the International Border with Pakistan and Rajouri and Poonch district on the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, three districts of Kashmir—Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara on LoC with Pak and both districts of Ladakh region including Leh, which shares Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and LoC with Pakistan and Kargil, which has LoC with Pakistan will benefit, sources pointed out.
They added that the Government was concerned about development of border areas, where the people continued to live despite “grave provocations’’ from Pakistan especially in Jammu and Kashmir and it was in this context that Jammu and Kashmir will get highest amount from total of Rs 400 crore released by the Central Government.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had described border residents as “strategic assets’’ and assured maximum possible facilities for them. According to sources, construction of bunkers and ‘Seema Bhavans’ have been kept out of the purview of Rs 400 crore approved for border areas of different States. While Rs 413 crore have separately been approved for construction of bunkers in border areas of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region, separate funds are yet to be approved for the ‘Seema Bhavans’.
“The facilities proposed under the Border Area Development Programme included construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible areas, where road connectivity would take time due to tough terrain, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, protection of heritage sites sports activities, Skill Development Programmes and Swachhta Abhiyan.
The BADP schemes include construction of primary health centres, schools, supply of drinking water, community centres, connectivity and drainage, to enable sustainable living in border areas.
Skill development training to farmers for the use of modern and scientific techniques in farming, organic farming are also part of the BADP now, sources said.
Sources said an amount of Rs 399.44 crore has been released to the Governments of Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and West Bengal under the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) so far during 2018-19.
According to sources, the infrastructure development in the border areas has been taken up on top priority by the Central Government especially the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, which has been nodal agency for implementation of the Border Area Development Programme, as people living along the borders with Pakistan faced lot of problems especially in the event of Pakistan shelling and firing.
However, the borders along China, Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries have been peaceful but the Government has been giving equal weightage to development of the villages, located along borders of all the neighbours.
During his visit to border belt of RS Pura in June this year, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had increased compensation for kin of Pakistan’s shelling and firing victims from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh and also raised relief for death of cattle. He had announced various other facilities for the border dwellers like deployment of bullet-proof ambulances to rescue people in the event of Pakistan shelling and firing.
The BADP covers 111 border districts in 17 States to meet special development needs of border population with a focus on the people living within 50 kilometers of the International Border.
As many as 61 model villages are also being developed under the BADP to improve the quality of life for border population.
A total of Rs 13,400 crore has been released since the BADP programme was initiated in 1986-87. India shares borders with Pakistan (3,323 km), China (3,488 km), Nepal (1,751 km), Bhutan (699 km), Myanmar (1,643 km) and Bangladesh (4,096 km).