December 2019 News

In 2 Years, Only 38% Bunkers Built Along IB, LoC

25 December 2019
The Tribune
Arteev Sharma

Srinagar: Even as civilian population along the international border (IB) and Line of Control (LoC) continues to bear the brunt of rising number of ceasefire violations by Pakistan, the Jammu and Kashmir government has been able to construct just 38 per cent of total 14,460 bunkers being built in border areas of the Jammu region during the past two years. What is more ironical is that the J&K government on January 16 this year had announced that 90 per cent of the border bunkers would be completed by June end. The then Governor's administration had even decided to approach the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for grant of 10,000 more bunkers under the SRE scheme. 'A total of 5,538 bunkers - 5,035 individual bunkers and 503 community bunkers -have been completed so far in the division,' the officials disclosed during a meeting, chaired by the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma, to review the progress on construction of bunkers along the international border and other related issues in the Jammu division. In December 2017, the Centre had sanctioned Rs 415.73 crore to the J&K government for the construction of 14,460 bunkers - 1431 community bunkers and 13,029 individual bunkers - in border areas of Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri and Poonch districts. While 7,298 bunkers were sanctioned along the LoC in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri, the construction of 7,162 underground bunkers was started along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts. According to the official statistics, 1,234 bunkers, including community and individual, have been completed in Samba district against a total of 2,515 individual and eight community bunkers sanctioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Similarly, only 918 bunkers have been constructed in Jammu district against a total of 1,200 individual and 120 community bunkers. In Kathua district, a total of 3,076 individual and 243 community bunkers were sanctioned by the MHA but work on 1,193 bunkers have been completed in the district. In Rajouri district, 1,744 bunkers against the total 4,918 individual and 372 community bunkers sanctioned by the MHA have been completed so far while at least 449 bunkers have been constructed in Poonch district against the total 1,320 individual and 688 community bunkers sanctioned for the district. The officials claimed that the remaining bunkers were under different stages of construction, including foundation level, superstructure level, and slab level. 'The Divisional Commissioner directed the Deputy Commissioners for monitoring the construction of bunkers and also directed the executing agencies to expedite the pace of work for timely completion of construction of individual and community bunkers at the earliest,' an official spokesperson said. Bharat Bhushan, senior vice-president of the Border Welfare Union, Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba, expressed concern over the slow pace of construction of bunkers in border areas and said the government should expedite the pace of construction to provide much-needed relief to border population which had been living under constant fear of firing and shelling by Pakistan forces.