JAMMU: Even as thousands of border residents continue to live under the shadow of death and facing brunt of heavy shelling from across the Line of Control in frontier Poonch and Rajouri districts, less than 3 per cent work on bunker construction has been completed so far. This is happening when directions have come from the highest level in the central government to expedite the work on ground zero to ensure safety and security of hapless border residents. According to official sources, “A total number of 7,298 bunkers were sanctioned for twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch in 2017 and till date less than 170 bunkers have been constructed under the central government sponsored project for the border residents”. Narendra Modi led NDA government had earlier sanctioned Rs 415.73 crore for the construction of 14,460 bunkers, including 1,431 community bunkers and 13,029 individual bunkers, along the LoC and the IB. A total number of 7,298 bunkers were sanctioned along the LoC in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri while 7,162 bunkers were sanctioned for three districts of Jammu, Kathua and Samba. Official sources said, out of these 7162 bunkers work on only 1,887 bunkers have been taken up/completed. According to these sources less than 15 per cent work of bunker construction has been completed so far. Inside reports revealed the State government is finding it difficult to motivate contractors to take up the job of bunker construction in the border areas. Initially, the tenders were allotted to large number of new contractors and for variety of reasons they could not start the construction work forcing the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary to issue warning notices to these willful defaulters to expedite construction work or lse fresh tenders will be issued to allot the pending work. In the absence of construction of bunkers in forward areas of Rajouri and Poonch the local villagers have to face the brunt of constant shelling from across the Line of Control. Several houses have been targeted by the Pakistani army in the recent months and the State government is yet to make fresh assessment of damages done before releasing the compensation amount to the needy and poor families living in the border areas. The Deputy Commissioners of twin border districts have been receiving complaints from ground zero about sub standard material being used in construction work of bunkers and an inquiry has been sought to ensure better quality of work.
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