Kupwara, July 21: After a long wait, people living close to the Line of Control in Kashmir’s Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts have something to cheer the government has finally started work on much needed community bunkers. To begin with, work is going on for the construction of 140 such bunkers in the three border districts of Kashmir.
Officials told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that of the 140 bunkers, 50 will be constructed in Rampur sector (Uri/Boniyar) in Baramulla district, 30 in Gurez in Bandipora district and 60 in Karnah sector in Tangdhar area of Kupwara district.
People living close to the LoC in Kashmir had staged a series of protests and raised a strong voice to demand community bunkers in their villages in the wake of frequent LoC shelling that triggered fear and caused immense damage to the life and property.
Officials said that the construction for underground community bunkers has already started which will comprise of two rooms and a washroom to ensure the safety of masses during cross LoC shelling.
They said that the construction will be completed this year. A top official in the Gurez area of Bandipora district said that the construction of 30 underground community bunkers is underway among which at least 15 have been completed and are ready to be used while the remaining are being constructed on a fast track basis. In Kupwara district, the officials said that the construction of around 120 bunkers was sanctioned but the absence of proper ground space has forced the administration to club the individual bunkers into underground community bunkers.
“The construction of 60 full-fledged underground community bunkers is underway in the villages close to LoC,” the officials said. A top official said that on the similar pattern, the construction of community bunkers is also underway at Keran sector. Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Uri, Riyaz Ahmad told KNO that the construction of community bunkers is underway and 50 will be completed in the first phase while the cost of a single bunker is Rs 10 lakh.
He said by the end of forthcoming September they should be able to complete the construction of 50 community bunkers. “We have also proposed the construction of 175 individual bunkers but haven’t floated the tender yet due to some technical issues,” he said. It may be recalled that border shelling has killed hundreds of people in Kashmir and Jammu region since 1990, and left scores handicapped forever. Besides, houses and livestock worth billions of rupees have also been damaged as well due the cross LoC shelling in J&K in the past 30 years.
The community bunkers were sanctioned in early 1990’s by the then government after which a few were constructed and then the process was left mid-way. Since then, there had been a huge demand from the people living close to the LoC in three northern districts of Kashmir as many of them had decided to migrate given the frequent exchange of shelling between the armies of India and Pakistan.