Pathankot terror attack: Air Force base boundary fencing damaged at various points

Construction of illegal houses and buildings within 100-metre range of the boundary wall of Air Force base, Deputy Commissioner says received a complaint.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: January 5, 2016 7:24 am
Pathankot, Pathankot attack, Pathankot terrorist attack, Pathankot terror attack Broken fencing around Western Command headquarters in Chandimandir military station in Panchkula. (Express photo by Jaipal Singh)

WHILE THE recent attack by terrorists at Pathankot air base has put the region on alert, various security agencies, including the local police, have beefed up security in the Tricity which houses some key defence establishments, where the security arrangements have also been reviewed.

At least five terrorists had infiltrated the border and attacked the Pathankot air base on January 1, and the operation to eliminate the terrorists was still underway. The chinks in the security system were evident at the 12th Wing Air Force base, which shares its border with Behlana village. The barbed wire fencing on the boundary was found damaged at various points, which can easily provide an easy passage for any outsider to enter or to be in the vicinity of the base area. There was

The chinks in the security system were evident at the 12th Wing Air Force base, which shares its border with Behlana village. The barbed wire fencing on the boundary was found damaged at various points, which can easily provide an easy passage for any outsider to enter or to be in the vicinity of the base area. There was construction of illegal houses and buildings within 100-metre range of the boundary wall of the Air Force base, posing a potential security risk.

When contacted, Deputy Commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi said, “We received a complaint regarding the illegal construction from the Air Force authorities a week ago. However, we have asked them to submit it in writing to the UT Administration, so that a survey can be conducted, following which suitable action will be taken.”

However, residents of the village highlighted that the village was set up much before the Air Force base and was legal. Sarpanch Mohinder Kaur said, “The construction of houses is legal as the village was set up much earlier.” She added that the authorities should also check buildings in Ramdarbar area, which were taller than the base boundary wall.

The Chandimandir Military Station, which houses the Western Command Headquarters, and residential accommodation of Army personnel is another key defence establishment. Spread over a large area, the station is located on the foothills, with rough terrain and forested area towards the Panchkula-Kalka highway. While there are strict security arrangements at all the entry points, with guards on duty 24X7, the forested area raises concerns.

“We have a well-demarcated boundary, which is frequently patrolled. There is enough deployment of the Quick Reaction Team (QRT), and though we cannot disclose the frequency of movement of the force, we can assure you that adequate security arrangements are in place. There is adequate co-ordination among the security forces, and also with the local police,” said a senior Army officer at Chandimandir Military Station.

Asked about the enhanced security following the recent incident, he said, “During such attacks, the security alert is at its highest level, and the number of sentries, frequency of patrolling is reviewed. A well-defined standard operating procedure (SOP) is followed.”

Situated on the periphery of Panchkula town amidst the rural area is Basic Training Centre (BTC) of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) at Bhanu.
Highlighting that the security arrangements are reviewed at regular intervals, a senior ITBP officer said, “We have tight security arrangements round the clock, and the Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) are also alerted. Apart from sentries and guards at all the check posts, we have watch towers keeping tabs on all movements near the boundary of the centre. The forces are extra vigilant in sensitive areas and we often conduct surprise checks.”
(With inputs from Shub Karman Dhaliwal)

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