Unexploded mortar shell lying in Panchayat Ghar for 9 months

Representational Pic

An unexploded mortar shell lying inside a Panchayat Ghar for last nine months is badly affecting the third phase of ‘back to village’ programme in Churanda village of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Local Panchayat representatives said that on 11 December 2019, during a ceasefire violation the shell fired by Pakistani troops landed inside the building, and till date it has neither been defused nor removed.

The Panchayat building constructed at a cost of Rs 12 lakh comprises seven rooms and a bathroom.

“Despite informing the army and the civil administration, the shell has not been defused and removed,” Lal Din Khatana, Sarpanch Churanda village said.

He said, “The ‘back to village program’ considered essential for grassroots development, has been badly affected here as we cannot conduct any meetings or activities inside the Ghar.”

It may be mentioned that the J&K administration on Friday kick started the third phase of ‘Back to Village’ program aimed at energising Panchayats and directing development efforts in rural areas through community participation. The Panchayat Ghars at other places during this period remains abuzz with the activities.

BDO Uri, Arif Shah, admitted that due to the presence of the unexploded mortar shell inside the building, no meetings are taking place there. “The matter has been taken up with the administration,” he said.

“I visited the area recently. The local Panchayat representatives are unable to carry out any activity inside the Panchayat Ghar,” he said.

SDM, Uri, Riyaz Ahmad, said that “in case the mortar shell is lying inside the building the issue will be taken with the brigade commander concerned immediately.”