New Delhi: Taking another step towards permanent fencing along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, government will send an expert team of engineers from Army and civilian organisations next month to work out a plan for erecting a barrier that can withstand even heavy snowfall.
A decision in this regard was taken at a recent meeting chaired by Union Home Secretary RK Singh here and attended by Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Ashok Prasad and other senior state and central officials, official sources said here today.
Erection of a permanent fence along the LoC, a brainchild of the state police chief, is aimed at achieving zero-infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The team, which will comprise engineers from the Army and organisations like Central Public Works Department and National Buildings Construction Corporation, will study the feasibility of erecting an all-weather fence that can withstand snow avalanches and heavy snowfall, the sources said.
Out of the 740-km length of the LoC with Pakistan, India has built fence of around 550 km, work for which was completed in 2004. Out of this, more than 80 kms of fencing is damaged due to snowfall or avalanches as a result of which terrorists are able to infiltrate into J&K with ease.
The team will carry out a detailed feasibility study of erecting a permanent fence and submit its report to the Union Home Ministry which will prepare a Cabinet note for final clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The focus of the team will be on fencing plans at around 40 places mainly from North Kashmir like Kupwara, Gurez, Uri, Keran and Doda district in the Jammu region, which have been traditional routes for terrorists to infiltrate into the Valley.
A presentation to the Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde was also made last month during which the state police reasoned out that infiltration was curtailed to 80 percent with the erection of a temporary fence in 2004 and that the remaining could also be eliminated once a permanent structure comes in place.
Army had been objecting to such an arrangement saying that erection of a permanent fence would leave some of the villages in North Kashmir outside it raising concerns among the people but the civilian administration opined that a gate could be constructed at such places which would be exclusively open for the ingress and egress of the people of this area.
Army had earlier objected even to the temporary fencing of the border in early 2000 but later agreed after the then Government under the UPA-I gave a go ahead.
The present fencing consists of double-row of fencing and putting in a wire which is electrified and connected to a network of motion sensors, thermal imaging devices, lighting systems and alarms.