Construction of bunkers in Samba at snail’s pace

An under construction bunker in a border village of Samba district on which work has been abandoned by authorities.
An under construction bunker in a border village of Samba district on which work has been abandoned by authorities.

Avtar Bhat
SAMBA, June 18: Notwithstanding the claims of Government of taking the construction work on bunkers along International Border (IB) on war footing, much to the discomfiture of the denizens the work on construction of bunkers along IB in Samba district is going at snail’s pace.
The residents of Bainglad and Chillyari Khurad villages, which are hardly 200 to 250 metres away from IB in Samba district, said that despite the claims of the Government the work has not been started on construction of bunkers in their hamlets which exposed the claims of administration that the work on the construction of bunkers to provide refuge to the people in the event of border shelling is going on war footing.
As the violation of ceasefire on IB looms large, people living near IB feel totally sacred in the event of shelling from across the border and they have no place to take refuge. Even fleeing from their hamlets to other places for their safety can’t be possible due to narrow road in the area. They said running away from the village or hiding themselves in their houses is the only alternative for them but some times even the firing and shelling from across spells a doom for them when it targets the residential houses also.
The residents of border belt alleged that they have been hearing for last one year that the work on bunkers has begun but not a single bunker was constructed in the hamlets of Chillyari Khurd and Bainglad till date. Though the work has been started on bunkers in Chillyari but it too has been abandoned and not completed, the people alleged.
They said that in some villages, walls have been constructed and work abandoned while in others slab has been laid and trenches dug but later the work abandoned. Even there is apprehension of water entering these trenches in coming Monsoon which can pose a threat to the adjoining residential houses, they added.
They said people are scared as there is no safe place for them to go in case of ceasefire violation by Pakistan. “We had only hope that with the construction of bunkers at least we could ensure the safety of our lives in the event of shelling from across the border by taking refuge in them but now it seems that their construction is a distant dream”, the villagers added.
The people demanded that the work on the construction of bunkers be resumed where it has been abandoned and it should be done on war footing. Besides, the work on bunkers in those villages along border should be started where it has not been taken up so far, they said.
However, when contacted the District Development Commissioner Samba, Sarita Chouhan told Excelsior that work on bunkers is going on full swing in the district. She, while refuting the reports in this regard, said that the construction work of bunkers in Samba district will be completed ahead of other districts and they will be quality bunkers as no compromise on the quality will be made.
However, Executive Engineer, R &B Samba, Rajesh Bhagat who is in charge of construction work said that initially there was delay due to certain reasons and earlier 60 bunkers were constructed in a month but now they have intensified the work by constructing 100 bunkers in a month and have also fixed a target of constructing 200 to 250 bunkers a month in coming days.
He said out of 2477 individual bunkers to be constructed in border belt of Samba, 860 bunkers were constructed and more bunkers are under construction which will be completed by the end of this month.