After years of delay, authorities have begun construction of underground safety bunkers in the villages along the Line of Control in Uri area of this northern Kashmir district.
Aftab Ahmad, junior engineer, Roads and Buildings (R&B) said the department which is the executing agency, will construct 44 community bunkers in Boniyar and Uri areas. Each bunker will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 10 lakh.
“Each community bunker will comprise of two rooms besides a washroom,” said the official, adding each of these bunkers will accommodate more than 20 people.
The official said the bunkers will be equipped with all the facilities which will allow people to take shelter in these bunkers for several days.
Another official said the construction of the safety bunkers has been started in Thajal, Churanda, Batgra, Mothal and Tilawari villages along the LoC.
He said work on all these bunkers has been taken up with participation of local people.
“The land for each safety bunker was provided by locals,” said assiatnt executive engineer, R&B, Uri.
Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Tilawari said people were heaving a sigh of relief as their long pending demand was being finally met.
“We are the worst sufferers of acrimony between the two neighbouring countries. In the past several years, so many families have been shattered after their loved ones got killed in the exchange of fire between the two armies. These safety bunkers will protect lives of so many people,” he said.
It was on 8 October 2005 when all the bunkers as well as scores of residential houses in the LoC villages were destroyed in the devastating earthquake.
During the past 15 years, several residents of these LoC villages have been killed in the cross-LoC firing and shelling while scores of structures have been totally or partially damaged.
In absence of the safety bunkers and during the ceasefire violation, people of the affected villages would shift to makeshift camps set up by local administration.