People living near LoC seek grant for constructing bunkers
Srinagar: People living in areas close to Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir are demanding special grant for construction of bunkers to escape shelling as India and Pakistan have resumed hostilities by heavy firing at each others' position.
Residents of villages close to the LoC in Uri sector of north Kashmir Baramulla district claim that the earthquake of 2005, which had flattened wide parts of Kashmir on either side of the ceasefire line, had destroyed their bunkers.
"We did not reconstruct those bunkers as we did not feel the need. The ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the LoC had held good for two years," Mohammad Aslam, a resident of Churunda village in Uri, said.
Churunda has been the worst affected areas in recent time as three civilians were killed in Pakistani shelling in October last year.
The village was again the target on January 06 but the cross LoC shelling resulted in damage to a residential house.
India and Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in November 2003. Barring minor aberrations, the ceasefire had been successful, providing major relief to the residents of borders areas in the state who were living in constant fear. However, the recent incidents of shelling along the LoC and transgression of the ceasefire line by Pakistani troops in Mendhar area of Poonch district are threatening the truce pact. Two Indian soldiers were killed in Mendhar incident while Pakistan has claimed that two of its soldiers died in shelling by Indian army since January 06.
A delegation of villagers living close to LoC told a news agency that government should provide them special grant for reconstructing the bunkers in case the hostilities continue.
"The government should either construct or provide us money to construct these bunkers. If they fail to do so, we might have to migrate from the area," Bashir Ahmad, who was heading the delegation, said.
He said the areas of Uri likely to be affected by cross-LoC shelling include Hathlanga, Churunda, Tilwari, Silikote and Sura, where over 1,000 families reside.
District Development Commissioner Baramulla Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad said the authorities have not received any representation for construction of bunkers so far.
"However, we will forward a proposal to Government if any such application is received," Ahmad said.
He said all the families living along the LoC in Uri were given Rs 15,000 in mid-1990s for construction of the underground bunkers.
"These bunkers do not get affected by earthquake," he added.