SRINAGAR: The Government of India has sanctioned construction of 14,460 bunkers at a cost of Rs 415.73 crore to safeguard the lives of the people living along the LoC and IB in J&K, Minister for Public Works, Naeem Akhtar was informed at a meeting to review the progress of construction of safety bunkers and evacuation shelters.
These would include 13029 individual bunkers and 1431 community bunkers. Besides, Evacuation Sheds are also to be constructed along the LoC and IB to deal with emergencies during cross-border shelling.
Chief Secretary, B B Vyas, Principal Secretary Home, R K Goyal, Commissioner Secretary R&B, Sanjeev Verma, Development Commissioner Works, R K Razdan, Chief Engineer R&B Jammu, Sudhir Shah, Chief Engineer R&B Kashmir, Nisar Ahmad Bhat, Managing Director, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), Vikar Mustafa Shuntho and other officers of the concerned departments were present at the meeting.
The bunkers are to be constructed by the R&B Department which has already approved the proposal, including design and specifications and tenders to start construction will be issued soon.
While 7,298 bunkers are being constructed along the LoC in the twin districts of Poonch and Rajouri, 7162 underground bunkers would be constructed along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts, the meeting was told.
The meeting was further informed that the capacity of the 160 square feet individual bunker would be eight people, and that of the 800 square feet community bunker would be 40 people.
The meeting was informed that the hilly terrain of districts like Poonch substantially increases the head-load while bunkers in low-lying areas need water-proofing, which increases the cost of Rs 2.50 lakh per bunker fixed by the union government.
“The Works Department will write to the Ministry of Home Affairs to approve 30-40 percent hike in cases where changes are required in specification due to difficult geography or the cost of ferrying material to the construction site is high,” the minister said.
The meeting was informed that nearly all tenders for individual bunkers have been issued in areas of Jammu, Samba, Poonch and Rajouri. The Minister directed the officers to ensure that the respective Deputy Commissioners fast track the process of site clearances.
Once the construction is over, the bunkers will be geotagged in consultation with Rural Development Department as per existing norms, officials said.
The meeting also discussed the process for construction of Evacuation Complexes (Seema Bhawans) along the border areas. The officers attending the meeting informed that the process will be started soon and a project report will be prepared for border areas in Kupwara and Uri in the first stage to be sent to the concerned union ministry for approval.
The complexes will have apartments with separate toilets for ladies and gents, kitchen, living room, common reading room and sheds for livestock. The Minister said he will hold a meeting with respective Deputy Commissioners soon to finalize the process.
Assorted accommodation for migrant employees
The meeting also reviewed the progress for creating additional accommodation for Kashmir migrants.
It was decided in the meeting that instead of creating isolated residential accommodation for the Kashmiri migrants, the State Government would develop assorted accommodation at various places where the Move and Non-Move Employees and the Kashmiri Migrants employed under the PM’s Special Package would be housed jointly to revive the age-old Kashmiri composite culture and tradition.
The meeting was informed that the state government has already identified land at some places and Detailed Project Reports for them are in the process of being issued, “The apartments should have community facilities like multi-purpose hall, parking facilities, playground, proper green-cover with mixed population to reflect the cultural diversity of J&K,” Akhtar said, while directing the Works Department to appoint a Nodal Officer for centralizing the process of project implementation.