Home ministry to convene high-level meeting on Kashmir fencing
New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry will soon convene a high-level meeting with experts in the field of engineering and Army officials to ascertain feasibility of erecting permanent fence along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir that can withstand heavy snowfall.
The move is aimed at achieving zero-infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan and PoK.
In the meeting, which will be chaired by Union Secretary R K Singh, experts from Central Public Works Department, National Buildings Construction Corporation, IIT and Engineering Corps of the Army will be asked to study the feasibility of erecting an all-weather fence that can withstand snow avalanches and heavy snowfall, official sources said.
Experts from Indian Meteorological Department will also be present at the meeting and they would identify highly avalanche prone areas after taking into account average of snowfall for the last one decade.
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, 83 kilometres of fencing is damaged due to snowfall or avalanches. This comes handy for terrorists to infiltrate into the state.
As per the proposal, a brain child of Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police Ashok Prasad, the Union Home Ministry will also send a team of experts comprising civil engineers from reputed institutions to the LoC to carry out a detailed feasibility study of erecting a permanent fence, the sources said.
The Home Ministry will later prepare a cabinet note which will be sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for consideration.
During the first phase, the Centre plans to seal nearly 40 routes, which have been traditional routes for terrorists to infiltrate into the Valley which are mainly from North Kashmir like Kupwara, Gurez, Uri, Keran and Doda district in the Jammu region.
The pillars along the famous Gandola cable car which stands all weather conditions were being made an example for erecting of fence along the LoC.
Army feels that in case of permanent fencing, some of the villages in North Kashmir would fall outside it raising concern 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 had to fall in line after the then Government under the UPA-I gave a go ahead signal.
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.
They act as "fast alert signals" to the troops, who can be alerted and ambush the infiltrators trying to sneak in.
The fencing of the LoC in Kashmir region and Jammu was completed in late 2004 and the security forces found the level of infiltration dropping down drastically.
Pakistan, at that point, had criticized the construction of the fence saying it violated both bilateral accords and relevant United Nations resolutions on the region but found no takers for it concerns.
The European Union supported India's stand calling the fencing as "improvement in technical means to control terrorists' infiltration."