The Centre will make bunkers for the residents living along the border areas in Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said while inspecting the forward areas and some border outposts during his first visit to the state.
He further said that some funds have been released for a pilot project in the R.S. Pora Sector in Jammu, where residents had to flee recently in the face of indiscriminate shelling by Pakistani forces.
The announcement follows a proposal submitted by the state government to the Ministry of Home Affairs, demanding a package of Rs 1,000 crore for the construction of about 21,000 community bunkers. Official sources told this newspaper that Mehrishi has assured residents living along the border that the Centre is committed to taking all out measures to safeguard them from Pakistani shelling.
During an interaction with the border villagers, Mehrishi said he was not in liberty to promise them plots of land for relocation. This decision has to be taken by the state government, he said. “He assured us all help for the construction of bunkers and said money would be released very soon,” said one of the border villagers who was present in the meeting.
Sources said that the MHA has approved the construction of 60 bunkers in the sensitive border areas of Jammu on a pilot basis and funds have been released for the same. These community bunkers will protect the villagers from Pakistani shelling. Hundreds of families migrated from these forward areas close to the International Border and along the Line of Control after many civilians were killed and scores were injured in the border clashes recently.
State government officials said that the Union Home Secretary has assured them that funds would not be a problem for the construction of bunkers in the villages along the International Border and the Line of Control.
“They will take a decision on our proposal, and funds will come soon,” a senior state official told this newspaper.
The J&K government has already compensated the families of the victims who died from the Paksitani shelling. But the state government officials said that the compensation money to over 200 civilians injured in the recent border shelling was yet to be distributed.