Starting the process for construction of ‘Seema Bhawans’ (border shelters) along the Line of Control (LoC), authorities in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri convened separate meetings to remove the bottlenecks in the process of land acquisition.
The ‘Seema Bhawans’ will provide accommodation to the residents of border villages who are forced to flee their homes during shelling across the LoC by Pakistan.
In a meeting on Friday, District Development Commissioner of Poonch Mohammad Aijaz Asad directed officers to complete the process for identification of land for ‘Seema Bhawans’, an official spokesperson said.
Asad asked the officers to identify land for the shelters at safe locations, the spokesperson added.
Currently, the border residents are accommodated in government buildings like educational institutions when they are displaced during shelling by Pakistan Rangers.
Construction of bunkers was also discussed during the meeting.
Officials in the meeting said most locations for the construction of underground bunkers had been handed over to the Roads and Buildings Department and the process for making entries of these identified sites in the revenue record had been initiated.
Asad directed the concerned revenue officials to complete the process of handing over the remaining bunker locations for construction, the spokesman said.
The community bunkers are being constructed in safe zones near colleges, schools, hospitals and police posts, which are easily accessible during ceasefire violations, he said.
In the neighbouring Rajouri district, Additional District Development Commissioner A S Chib reviewed the status of finalisation of land for ‘Seema Bhawans’ and the tendering process by the Public Works Department (PWD) for construction of bunkers, a spokesperson said.
The proposals for construction of the border shelters submitted by the sub-divisional administration of Nowshera, Sunderbani and Manjakote were also reviewed in the meeting, he said.
The spokesperson added that the superintending engineer of the PWD, Rajouri, had been designated the nodal officer for execution of the work on ‘Seema Bhawans’.
The district administration of Rajouri had initiated construction of 102 individual bunkers and 10 community bunkers in Nowshera as a pilot project with a convergence of resources.
All the individual bunkers were handed over to families in March while the community bunkers are being completed. The individual bunkers can accommodate 10-15 people and the community bunkers have a capacity of 40-50 people.
More than 14,000 individual and community bunkers are being constructed along the LoC and the International Border (IB) in the Jammu region following the approval from the Union Home Ministry.