JK govt asks Center to build more community bunkers across border

JK govt asks Center to build more community bunkers across border
Amid rising tensions on borders and continuing shelling by Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir government has approached the Center for the construction of community bunkers for border dwellers which could be used by the locals for their safety.

Earlier in 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had approved construction of 60 community bunkers at the cost of Rs five lakh each in Jammu region for safeguarding civilians during the cross-border firing.

Sources said the community bunkers were at the advanced stage of construction and their experiment seems to be successful as they can accommodate around 20 persons at a time along with their requirements like cooking material. "As the experiment seems successful, the J&K government wants construction of more such bunkers in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Rajouri and Poonch to help the border people during shelling and firing by the Pakistani troops,” they said.

Sources said the State government is vigorously pursuing the demand for construction of bunkers with the MHA in the wake of recent heavy shelling in Nowshera sector in which Pakistan army had directly targeted the civilian population.

The border residents have been demanding for construction of community bunkers in their villages for long after forced to flee their homes due to frequent shelling by Pakistan. For the thousands living in these vulnerable zones, fear creeps in when the sun sets as their hamlets come under intense shelling by the Pakistani army.

Most of the villages on the LoC and the IB are within the range of artillery firing from Pakistan. According to official figures more than four lakh people living near border areas in the districts of Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Rajouri and Poonch are vulnerable due to Pakistani firing and the government needs to construct more than 20,000 bunkers to safeguard them.

Official said the construction of bunkers will not only help avoid civilian casualties it will also ensure that government schools are not frequently converted into the migrant camps during the cross border shelling. During recent intense mortar shelling in Nowshera sector of Rajouri, four government run schools had been converted into the migrant camps while many more had been identified for use if the number of migrants increased, they said.

Following the ceasefire agreement of 2003, there was peace along the Line of Control and International Border in the state, apart from the occasional skirmishes at forward posts. However, after the latest increasing Indo-Pak hostilities, the villagers are preparing for the worst.
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