Authorities in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir have initiated the process of constructing over 5,500 underground bunkers and 200 community halls as well as 'border bhawans' to help border dwellers facing the brunt of Pakistani shelling and firing.
The prestigious project, targeted to be completed in the current financial year at a cost of Rs 1.53 billion, has already been approved by the state government and union ministry of home affairs (MHA), an official spokesman said on Sunday.
He said District Development Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary chaired a meeting and reviewed arrangements for initiating construction of family bunkers, community bunkers, community halls and border bhawans to facilitate safety of border residents during ceasefire violations.
A total of 5,196 bunkers are being constructed in seven blocks along the 120 km long stretch of LoC. These include Sunderbani, Qila Drahal, Nowshera, Doongi, Rajouri, Panjgrain and Manajakote, the spokesman said.
He said over 260 community bunkers and 160 community halls would also be constructed in villages located in 0-3 KM distance from LoC for accommodation of people during ceasefire violation prompted migration or emergency evacuation.
He said the tendering process designed for construction of bunkers as block level projects as per MHA guidelines would start within one week and process will be completed within one month which will be followed by construction of bunkers, shelters and community halls.
Every family residing in 0-3 KM range from LoC would be provided an individual family bunker during Phase-I of the project while community bunkers and halls will be strictly constructed near schools, hospitals, police stations, police posts, government buildings and panchayat ghars for safe accommodation and better utilisation during peace time, the spokesman said.
He said 'tehsildars' (revenue officials) have been directed to hand over land to executing agencies indicating area and Khasra number as well as entry in revenue records while tenders would be put in public domain within one week.
Joint teams of Revenue, Rural Development Department, Police and Public Works Department would conduct inspection, physical verification and monitoring with active cooperation from border guarding forces, he said.
The spokesman said all assets will be geo-tagged and monitored online at district and state level.
In December last year, the Centre announced construction of 14,460 individual and community bunkers at a cost of Rs 415.73 crore for people living along the LoC and IB in Jammu region as a step to ensure their safety in the wake of frequent cross-border shelling.