The government of India would build around 14,500 safety bunkers in Jammu and Kashmir border areas for people to take shelter in the event of Pakistani shelling of civilian areas on this side, said Home Minister Rajnath Singh on his final day of two-day long vist.
The Home Minister said the government would raise seven more India Reserve Battalions of special armed police in the state. He announced an increase in financial compensation to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh for persons killed during cross-border firing on the International Boundary and the Line of Control. The amount will be directly credited to the account of next of kin. This removes the condition of a fixed deposit account to receive the financial assistance.
The minister said the government has also decided to increase to Rs 50,000 from Rs 30,000 the compensation for each animal killed during the border firing. The Home Minister said the government was concerned over the safety of people living in border areas as Pakistani forces continue unprovoked firing and shelling to target Indian areas.
To ensure their safety, 13,029 bunkers each with a capacity to shelter 8-10 people and 1,431 community bunkers each with a capacity to house 40-50 people would be constructed in the areas near the borders.
For this, he said, Rs 450 crore was sanctioned. The minister said five bullet-proof ambulances would also be stationed permanently on the border areas to tackle emergency situations.
He said five IR battalions would be raised with 60 per cent reservation for border residents. There will be two more women battalions — one each for Jammu and the valley. This, besides boosting security, will also give direct employment to nearly 7,000 young men and women in the state.
Two of the battalions, the minister said, would be deployed to guard villages falling between 0-10 km from forward posts.
The minister also announced financial assistance of Rs 5.5 lakh per family for west Pakistani refugees settled in the state since 1947. The decision will benefit nearly 5,764 families who have no citizenship and voting rights in Jammu and Kashmir. These refugees cannot apply for state government jobs and vote in Assembly elections. But they are eligible to vote in parliamentary polls.
Rajnath Singh said the government had decided to increase to Rs 13,000 from 10,000 the monthly financial assistance for each Kashmiri migrant family living in Jammu and other parts of the country. "Once I reach Delhi, an order will be issued regarding the financial assistance to west Pakistan refugees settled in Jammu and Kashmir and the (Kashmiri) migrants," he said.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh visited R.S. Pora and Naushera borders areas in Jammu.
The survivors of the people killed in the cross-border shelling were sore with Singh as they didn't get to see him. They had been brought by the administration to have a chat with Singh, but they returned disappointed.
"We were invited to talk with Home Minister but no one allows us to speak," Aman Choudhary, 23, the elder among five siblings, who lost their family members in recent skirmish, told Greater Kashmir.
"I have many things to share. My questions remained unanswered. The function hijacked by few political leaders, who were allowed to speak only to praise government's so called initiatives," he said.
Aman, his four brothers and 80-year-old grandfather Om Prakash were among people invited to meet union minister Rajnath Singh.
"If I was allowed to meet Home Minister, I would have asked him about the reason of brutal murder of my parents and aunty." he said.
"We lost courage to live in village home. The streets seem haunting. The house remind us horrible night, when my parents were killed after a motor landed in the courtyard of house," said Ankush Choudhary and adding, "No one among us wants to go back to villages." "The money (compensation) cannot bring our parents back," he said.