Government plans 14,000 bunkers to shield civilians from Pakistan fire

NEW DELHI: The government will build 13,029 bunkers for individual households in five border districts in Jammu & Kashmir – Samba, Poonch, Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri – who face the wrath of shelling from Pakistani forces. Another 1,431 large community bunkers will be built, each of which can accommodate 40 people in these districts.

The state-owned National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCCBSE -3.61 %) will build these bunkers in areas that lie within 3 kilometres from the border and are first in line of sight from international border or line of control (LoC). While each individual bunker of 160 sq feet will be enough to accommodate 8-10 persons, every community bunker can provide shelter to about 40 persons.

In 2017, in addition to the 15 Army soldiers and four BSF jawans who were killed in ceasefire violations, 12 civilians also lost their lives and 79 were injured.

The ministry of home affairs has given the work worth Rs 416 crore to NBCC. “Pre-cast construction methodology shall be used for this. Strategically located casting yards will be used to fabricate RCC components, which shall be transported by trailer/ tractors and the bunkers will be erected by cranes and labourers. We will plan in such a way that each bunker is completed in maximum 2-3 days,” NBCC chairman and managing director A K Mittal told TOI.

In Samba, 2,515 individual and eight community bunkers will be built. Similarly, in Jammu 1,200 individual and 120 community bunkers will be constructed. A maximum of 4,918 individual and 372 community bunkers will be built in Rajouri. In Kathua, 3,076 individual bunkers will be constructed. Poonch will get the maximum number of 688 community bunkers and will get another 1,320 individual bunkers.

“It’s a prestigious and challenging project for us. We will meet the time line, which will be set by the J&K government. While we are building World Trade Centre in South Delhi we are also engaged in road and fencing works in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura on Indo-Bangladesh border and in Gujarat on Pakistan border,” Mittal said.

In January J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had informed the state assembly that, “Priority shall be given to the bunkers which are nearest to the existing border outposts (BOPs).” Sources said the priority of construction has been put under three category – 0-1 km from border, 1-2 km from border and 2-3 km. Similar works are also envisaged in Srinagar sector.

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