Progress on construction of bunkers

Knowing fully the malevolent and villainous designs of Pakistan against our country, the demonstration of which that country intermittently gives on LoC and the IB which in its wake, brings untold sufferings to our people living along borders, construction of individual and community bunkers was considered among the most prioritized measures to provide a sense of actual protection to border dwellers and mitigating their hardships due to unprovoked firing and other acts by Pakistan.
Readers may recall that the Ministry of Home Affairs had accorded approval to construction of 13029 individual and 1431 community type bunkers for eight border districts of the State. The cost of this mega project was reckoned to be around Rs.415 crore. The entire cost of construction has to be borne by the Union Home Ministry. It is worth recording that the Union Ministry had started sounding the concerned authorities in Jammu and Kashmir State about this project much before actually sanctioning it and about the release of funds etc. The concerns of the Union Home Ministry about the issue of great importance , that of protecting the life and limb of the border dwellers in the hour of crisis, appears to be not adequately responded to by the State Government which looks prosaic as well as unwarranted.
The Union Ministry has been repeatedly issuing directions and guidelines on this issue including sending several letters and reminders to the Home Department of the State asking for expediting the construction of these bunkers. As on date, however, the work on these bunkers has not been started at all in five border districts of Jammu and Kashmir and the latest report on the progress of such bunkers is that work having been started only on 100 bunkers in rest of the three border districts. The casual approach of the State Government towards the sensitive issue can be gauged by the fact that State Level Nodal Officer who is supposed to ensure increased focus on implementation of various welfare programmes, has till date, not been appointed. The welfare programmes include welfare of the border residents and, therefore, monitoring of construction of bunkers in eight border districts of the State. Had this much desired step been taken in time, the results on the ground would have not been below the expected levels.
Pressing panic buttons, perhaps, being a constituent of State administration, the State responded to the communications and reminders of the Union Ministry by constituting committees at different levels ostensibly to put some pace and vigour in the mega project but despite that, the work has started only in the districts of Jammu, Samba and Kathua while construction work has not been allotted in Rajouri, Poonch, Baramulla, Bandipora and Kupwara districts. On appraisal of the progress of work, only 100 bunkers figure in, which means a gigantic volume of work in arrears when seen in the entirety of the issue? Like this, it can well be deduced that the very purpose behind construction of such bunkers and the expected utility thereof, stands weakened if not defeated in absolute terms.
Looking to the expected resentment and indignation of the border dwellers where this work of climacteric and imperative nature has not started yet, the Government must look sharp and forthwith take steps to speed up the work where it is “under progress” and start at those places where it has not yet begun without waiting for completion of avoidable formalities. Alternatives to obstacles like poor response to e-tendering etc should be found out without further loss of time. We shall keep our readers abreast of the latest developments in the issue under reference.


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