Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday ordered early construction of bunkers along the International Border (IB) and the Line of Control (LoC) to protect people living in those areas in view of increased shelling by Pakistani troops.
More than 1,250 ceasefire violations have been recorded in the first five months of this year, compared to 971 such violations in 2017, 449 in 2016, and 405 in 2015, according to Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) records.
This year has seen a sudden spike in number of ceasefire violations after the government declared suspension of operations during Ramzan, officials said.
“The MHA has approved Rs 415 crore for construction of more than 14,000 bunkers in Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Rajouri and Poonch districts,” according to a statement from the ministry. “Work on construction of 1,431 community and more than 13,000 individual bunkers will commence from July.”
According to the MHA, a compensation of Rs 5 lakh is given to civilian victims of cross-border shelling, and damages to house and loss of crop or livestock are paid at the rates prescribed for National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF).
On Monday, Singh raised the compensation for loss of livestock in such shelling and directed officials to pay Rs 50,000 instead of Rs 30,000.
For rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, Singh sought a detailed plan in consultation with the state government, officials said. There are about 62,000 Kashmiri Pandit migrants registered with the government — of them, nearly 40,000 are based in Jammu, at least 19,338 in Delhi, and 2,000 families are settled in other states.
During Monday’s review of the situation in J&K, Singh was also informed about the significant drop in stone-pelting incidents after the announcement of suspension of operations during Ramzan. In an interview to The Indian Express (printed on Sunday), Singh had said that the Centre may extend the suspension of operations beyond Ramzan if the situation remains peaceful.
On the raising of two new border battalions of J&K Police, Singh directed officials to complete recruitment by March 2019. In March this year, the MHA had approved Rs 105 crore to raise two new troops from people living within 10 km radius of IB and LoC.