TAANGDHAR (Line of Control): The Village of Tangdhar will soon have the shield of bunkers to hide in during the ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
In July this year, two persons died and one injured in the cross border firing.
Bilal Bhat, Sub Divisional Magistrate of Karnah said, "The Union Home Ministry had approved the construction of 120 community bunkers. We have completed 75 and the rest are being built and in advance stage."
The government had assisted people in making individual bunkers initially but due to ceasefire, these bunkers were turned either into storerooms or as septic tanks.
Bhat further said that the Centre initially had proposed 60 large community bunkers as Pakistan Army was frequently targeting the civilian population. Later, the government decided to increase the number to 120.
The official further said that about 50 to 60 people can be accommodated in one such bunker and it costs around Rs 10 lakh. The bunkers are made of concrete that can withstand bullets.
Tangdhar, which has a population of around 70,000, is a part of the Kupwara District. It has a peculiar geographic location -- Pakistani territory encircles it from three sides with its Neelum valley on the North and Leepa Valley in the South.
According to the Army officers, this place is the shortest route to enter the Kashmir valley and thus, remains under regular fire from the Pakistan side to push the terrorists. But, the Indian Army gives a befitting reply every time the ceasefire is violated. This place is connected by the difficult Sadhana Pass at more than 10,000 ft with the rest of Kashmir. Indian Air Force fighters entered Pakistan's Balakot in February 2019 from this area.
This population of this area primarily includes Paharis and Gujjars and has a sizeable population of Sikhs.
Khalilur Rehman, Sarpanch of Sudpura village, feels that the government should sanction individual bunkers as during ceasefire violations people run for their life, and at times it takes 25-30 minutes to reach the community bunkers. Also, animals remain vulnerable to the Pakistan firing.
There are six villages closer to the Line of Control which depend on Pakistan for water. Sudpura is one of them. Every year, the villagers approach the Pakistanis by raising white flags and pay about Rs 50,000 for the supply of water for drinking and irrigation. Pakistan keeps troubling these villagers at one or the other pretext and stops water supply. The agreements for water is required to be renewed every year.