J&K: As cross-border shelling increases, govt accelerates building of civilian bunkers

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Raghvendra RaoUpdated: Oct 26, 2017, 10:58 AM IST

File photo. Photograph:(ANI)

The Indian government has decided to expedite the building of bunkers along the Jammu and Kashmir border with Pakistan.

The bunkers are meant for civilian populations. 

There has been heavy loss of life and property in recent months because of the increased cross-border shelling. 

As compared to a total of 228 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control in 2016, there were a staggering 503 such ceasefire violations till October 3 this year. 

The government has also decided to give special emphasis to the development of border areas falling within a 10-kilometre radius of the International Border and the Line of Control while selecting projects under the Border Area Development Program.

This was decided after Jammu & Kashmir's Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday. 

Over the past few weeks, several Indian civilians have been killed or seriously wounded by shelling from across the border.  

On October 3, the Indian government had summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strong protest with him over the deaths of three Indian children in what the government said was an unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani forces a day earlier in the Poonch sector.

India had conveyed to Pakistan at the time that such “deliberate targeting of civilians was not acceptable and was against humanitarian norms and practices”. 

Following Mufti's meeting with Rajnath, the government has also decided to fast-track projects under the Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) by making encumbrance-free land available for infrastructure projects related to roads, power and health.

“Under the Prime Ministers’ Development Package for Jammu and Kashmir (Rs 80,068 Crores) for 63 major Development projects pertaining to 15 Central Government Ministries, an amount of Rs 62,599 Crores (approx. 78%) has been sanctioned and an amount of Rs 22,042 Crores (approx. 28%) has been released,” the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a statement Thursday.

And in a bid to further reach out to the Kashmiri masses, the government has also decided to accelerate development projects related to additional jobs for Kashmiri migrants, transit accommodation, transfer of cash relief/honorarium through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) mode and providing employment to youth of J&K.