Jammu: Octroi Border out Post on the International Border in Suchetgarh border of RS Pura in Jammu district has emerged as a famous tourist destination with retreat ceremonies being organised by the Border Security Force near the zero line on weekends.
This ceremony was first held on October 2 in presence of Lt Governor Manoj Sinha.
Now it has become a regular feature at Octroi BoP where the BSF troops perform a retreat ceremony in presence of hundreds of people.
“The half-hour ceremony is being held from 5:15 pm onwards during weekends along the International Border at Octroi BoP,” said BSF Jammu Frontier spokesman.
He said that over a thousand people gather there every Saturday and Sunday to attend the ceremony.
“We have specially trained the BSF officials to perform this ceremony. Gradually, the ceremony may be conducted every day,” the spokesman said.
Even as the District Development Council (DDC) Suchetgarh member Taranjit Singh Tony welcomed the ceremony but pointed out some shortcomings which needed to be worked out by the concerned departments.
“Over 1000 people attend this ceremony and the number is increasing. However, there is only a sitting arrangement for 500. The infrastructure is poor and it should be developed to cater to the needs of the visitors,” he said.
Tony suggested that this event should be made big on the pattern of Wagah border.
“Need to construct restaurants and restrooms for the visitors and women. Attractive loan facilities should be provided to the unemployed youth to start their business in Suchetgarh,” he said urging the Tourism department to take steps for beautification of the area.
Tony said that the approach road from Jammu towards Suchetgarh via R S Pura town should be widened.
“It is not possible for the tourists to enjoy the ceremony after travelling on the Suchetgarh road that is dotted with potholes,” he said.
Sarpanch Flora Panchayat, Surjeet Choudhary said, “The work on the widening of RS Pura-Suchetgarh road was started five years ago. It needs to be completed soon. The Suchetgarh road towards Octroi also doesn’t have any proper lighting.”
He demanded increased seating arrangements at retreat ceremonies and special permits for the tourist vehicles.
“Last Sunday, our relatives had specially come from Delhi to attend the ceremony. People from out of J&K are also coming to witness the ceremony,” he said and demanded that the ceremony be organised at par with Wagah Border.
Expressing concern over the condition of road, ex-Sarpanch Panchayat Changia Raghvir Singh said, “The work on approach road leading to Suchetgarh should be sped up.”