On his maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Mehrishi today gave an assurance about the Centre’s positive response on bunkers for villagers living along the 198-km Indo-Pak border.
He did not give any commitment on five-marla plots for them in safer zones to escape shelling and described the subject a prerogative of the state government.
Mehrishi assumed charge on September 1 after his predecessor LC Goyal was allegedly forced to take voluntary retirement.
Mehrishi was accompanied by Special Secretary (Internal Security) in Home Ministry, Ashok Prasad; DG BSF, Devendra Kumar Pathak; IG, BSF, Jammu Frontier, RK Sharma; DIG, BSF, Dharmender Pareekh; Jammu Divisional Commissioner Pawan Kotwal; IGP, Jammu zone, Danish Rana; and other officers.Soon after landing at the technical airport in Jammu around 10 am, Mehrishi along with Prasad and Pathak flew to Satowali helipad in RS Pura sector and visited the Abdullian border outpost,” said sources.
Mehrishi was briefed about the security scenario at the border outpost by senior BSF officers. He boarded a bullet-proof vehicle and visited duty points being manned by the BSF.
At Abdullian village, he interacted with local residents to know their problems and inspected an underground bunker. “Kotwal informed Mehrishi about the proposal of bunkers in forward villages along the Indo-Pak border, which had been sent to the Home Ministry. Mehrishi assured residents of a positive response,” they said.
The Centre had a proposal to construct bunkers in all forward villages for residents to take refuge during shelling. In the absence of proper bunkers, tens of thousands of villagers became sitting ducks for the Pak Rangers.
Mehrishi conducted an aerial survey of the border in Kathua and Samba sectors before flying back to the technical airport, from where he flew to Srinagar in the afternoon.
Rana said: “Recent shelling, infiltration bids and ways to strengthen the counter-infiltration grid were also discussed.”