August 2002 News

Fencing work along 40 Km IB in Jammu sector completed: IG BSF

8 August 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Correspondent

Jammu: Inspector General of Border Security Force Jammu Frontier, Mr Dilip Trivedi has said that fencing along 40 kms of International Border in Jammu sector has been completed. With this, the infiltration of armed militants along 187 kms long IB in this sector has considerably reduced. In an Exclusive interview with the Excelsior’, the IG said that fencing work up to about 80 kms will be completed by the March next. It is the responsibility of each battalion of the Border Security Force along the IB to ensure and supervise the fencing task in their own area of operation. The flood lights in the area fenced so far have also been fitted and gates constructed to provide outlets to the farmers to work in their fields on that side of the fencing and perform other agriculture activities. It is pertinent to mention here that fencing is being conducted not along the zero line but about 500 to 800 metres inside the border. The IG said that work was in progress in several areas like R S Pura, Ramgarh, Samba and Akhnoor sub-sectors. A long stretch of fencing alongwith the flood- lights has been completed in Basantar and Devak area in between Ramgarh and Samba. Additional observatory posts have also been created and a strict vigil is being maintained to check infiltration and any misadventure by the enemy troops. ''The fencing is not regular like and running from one end to the other but every battalion has taken up the area ranging from 5 to 8 kms with in their area of responsibility,'' he said. The local labourers have been engaged in the work besides labour from outside the state. BSF is supervising the work and providing protection to the men at work. For this purpose, various gadgets and bullet-proof tractors are being used to save the workers from Pakistani bullets. They intentionally target the men engaged at fencing job because it will become difficult for them to facilitate intrusion of armed militants from Pakistani side. Responding to a question, Mr Trivedi said there are no reports about infiltration along IB in the last 6-7 months. This year the intrusion has declined to almost nil. As per some unconfirmed reports, a few suspected militants were reportedly sighted by the villagers in a one or two isolated incidents but no agency has confirmed it. Such unconfirmed reports only create panic and lead to nowhere. The IG, while replying another question maintained that shelling from Pakistani side has been stopped now but firing is going on. This firing affects the smooth conduct of the fencing work but the Force has taken up this challenge boldly and intended to finish the task as early as possible. With the completion of fencing work, the infiltration along 187 kms IB from Paharpur (Punjab) to Brahman Bela in Akhnoor will be reduced to nil, he maintained. Replying to yet another question, Mr Trivedi said for internal security duty, seven BSF battalions are deployed in Rajouri and Ramban—Gool area of the Jammu region. Though BSF has not much role in the ensuing Amarnath Yatra, yet strict vigil along the border and other areas of responsibility is being maintained to ensure the safety of the yatris and civilians in general. Additional pickets and nakka points have already been set up at the vulnerable points and high alert is being maintained in view of the situation prevailing and the threat perception. Jammu sector commander, Deputy Inspector General of BSF, Mr Chehal when contacted said that in view of the increased shelling and the firing from the Pakistani side in last 7 to 8 months, the smooth execution of fencing work was affected along the International Border in this sector. While the fencing has almost been completed along 40 kms border belt, the flood lights have also been fitted at the same distance. The fencing in Jammu sector is better as compared to Punjab and BSF has taken up it as a big challenge. At present, there is no disruption in the work and the men are at the job to finish it as soon as possible. By the end of this year, the fencing along about 65-70 kms area is expected to be completed. In the beginning, the CPWD had taken up the task but it abandoned due to the risk involved and the firing from Pakistani side. Now BSF is doing it independently with the assistance from local labourers. Another senior officer said, no doubt there has been no infiltration from Pak side in Jammu sector but from LoC the ultras are making several attempts to cross into this side. It is general observation that after snow on Pir Panjal peaks starts melting in summer, the infiltration routes at the higher passes again become operational. But all out efforts are being made to plug these known routes of infiltration by the forces. The border is porous and the terrain is very tough at certain points but it has become very very difficult for ultras to intrude into this side due to presence of large number forces along the borders at present, he added.


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