With the onset of winters in Kashmir, the people living along the Line of Control (LoC) in Hajipeer sector of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district have been left ruing as the construction of community bunkers has been going on at a snail’s pace.
“At least 18 community bunkers were approved for the Silikote belt but unfortunately not a single bunker has been completed so far after the passing of six months,” said Abdul Khaliq Bhat, sarpanch of halqa Silikote.
Bhat said that winters will take a heavy toll on their lives. “God forbid if shelling takes place, we don’t know where to run for our lives. This area receives two to three feet of snow in winters,” he said.
“The local authorities have failed to finalise the bids for the construction of bunkers in two villages, Sahura and Hathlanga that fall on the “zero line” in forward area of Silikote and are the worst affected during the cross-LoC shelling,” he added.
Lal Din Khatana, sarpanch of Charunda village, located along the LoC, said that the authorities have slowed down the construction work on the bunkers. “14 bunkers were sanctioned for our area but all of them are incomplete,” he said.
“It is like hell to live on the LoC. Despite giving a number of reminders to the authorities urging them to complete the construction of bunkers at the earliest it seems that they are not serious,” said Mohd Hanief, sarpanch of Thajal village.
Sabiya Begum, sarpanch of Balkote village, an area which saw the worst in the recent cross-border shelling, said that not a single bunker has been approved in their area till date. “We have been left in the lurch,” she said.
Begum said that they have been demanding the individual bunkers. “The community bunkers have been built at a distance of a kilometer or more. How is it possible to run so far and find a shelter as one bunker has been allotted to at least ten families,” she questioned.
However, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Baramulla, Mohd Ahsan Mir told Greater Kashmir that he is not aware about the matter. “I will get it checked,” he said.
On 13th November, four civilians were killed along with two army soldiers due to cross border shelling along LoC in Uri.
The community bunkers in Uri are being constructed after a gap of 15 years as most of the bunkers were destroyed in the 2005 devastating earthquake.
In February this year, J&K home department had sanctioned 125 community bunkers for Baramulla and Kupwara districts with an aim to build shelters and safeguard human lives along the LoC from the cross-border shelling.