Srinagar, June 25: Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed the J&K Union territory government to take up construction of underground community bunkers on a priority basis in view of the heightened tensions on borders.
Highly placed sources in MHA told news agency that after repeated pleas by the border residents to construct the community bunkers in view of the intense cross LoC firing between the armies of India and Pakistan, the Ministry has directed the J&K Union territory administration to start work on construction of bunkers on fast track basis.
“At least 500 underground community bunkers stand sanctioned for various border villages in J&K which are vulnerable to the LoC shelling. Those villages include Churunda, Nambla, Dulanja in Uri sector, Keran and Tanghdar in Kupwara, Gurez sector in Bandipora, R S Pura, Poonch, Rajouri, Kathua which covers both LoC and International Border in Jammu region,” the sources revealed.
Officials in MHA confirmed the development stating the directions have been passed to the concerned agencies in J&K and work will soon start in the vulnerable areas on a fast track basis.
The development comes after J&K witnessed 1645 ceasefire violations this year, which is the record number of the past five years. Simultaneously, the border residents, especially those living close to the LoC in Uri, Keran and Tangdhar in Kashmir in Rajouri, Poonch and Kathua in Jammu have been strongly demanding that the community level bunkers be built given the intensified shelling between the two sides.
“There is fear everywhere in villages close to LoC. At times it seems war has started. Though the government has started setting up community bunkers but we demand that there should be bunkers for every household so that we could take refuge in them when shelling intensifies, ,” said Sulaiman Ahmed, a resident of Keran in Kupwara.
Abdur Rashid, a villager from Nambla, Uri said that recently two live shells landed in his compound. “It was after the army’s Bomb Disposal Squad defused them, we heaved a sigh of relief. I was giving water to the vegetables in my compound, when I found two shells, I right away informed the army. God forbid, if the shells would have exploded, there would have been a huge damage to my livestock and my family members too,” Rashid said, demanding that the situation seems to be going from bad to worse on LoC and no villager is safe. He said the government must construct underground bunkers as soon as possible for the safety of the local population.
“Armymen have their own way of protecting themselves. It is the locals, who are always caught up between the two sides,” said Rashid, who lost his brother in cross LoC shelling in the early 1990s”.(KINS)