Jammu: Welcoming the assertion of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi that both India and Pakistan should fight the joint enemy of poverty and disease, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday hoped that the leadership of Pakistan responds positively to this remark.

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The spokesman said both the countries have to live like peaceful neighbours and hoped the leadership in Pakistan would understand that many of their issues like poverty, illiteracy and disease would also get resolved due to friendly ties with India. She said the provision of bunkers to border people is a temporary measure but both the countries would have to go back to the times of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee when peace prevailed on the borders and both the countries moved closer to each other on the path of friendship.

Mehbooba Mufti regretted that people of Jammu & Kashmir have been the worst sufferers of hostility between India and Pakistan. “For how long shall we keep on suffering?”, she asked while adding that acrimony between the two countries has only led to deaths and destructions on both the sides. She said how unfortunate it is that when people of these border areas should have good schools, hospitals and better road connectivity, they are asking for bunkers to protect their lives.

Sharing the concern of the members, the Chief Minister said the issue of availability of more community and individual bunkers for the people of border areas would be taken up with the Centre again. Besides, she added, steps are being taken for the shelter and other facilities of the affected people by the Government.

Earlier, responding to clubbed question of Qaiser Jamshed Lone, Pradeep Sharma and Yashpal Sharma, Minister for Revenue Abdul Rehman Veeri said the government has shifted the people of shelling affected border villages to the safer places by providing them temporary accommodation in government and private buildings where they are being provided basic amenities including healthcare, drinking water, power and sanitation.

The Minister said security has been beefed up in border areas to ensure the protection of livestock and property.

He said vehicles fitted with public address system and sirens have been deployed in the border areas to inform people on time in the event of any exigency, while the uninterrupted power supply is being provided in night hours, he added.

He said the BP bunkers and ambulances have been kept in readiness at convenient locations for evacuation of persons in case of emergency, while Helpline has been made functional in Police Control Room, Jammu for providing assistance and information to the public.

He said a committee has also been constituted by the Centre to monitor the problems being faced by the people residing near Line of Control.

Meanwhile, the Minister informed that an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 23 lakh has been paid to the families of those killed in border shelling during the last two years, while Rs. 6.20 lakh has been paid to 110 injured persons and Rs. 43.66 lakh on account of damage to the properties.

He further informed that the damage caused to the property in Baramulla and Kupwara districts due to the cross-border shelling/firing is being assessed for grant of compensation under rules, adding that the process for grant of relief to the injured is also under process.

He said that the Centre has sanctioned construction of 14,460 bunkers involving Rs 415.73 crore in border districts of Jammu division, while 37 bunkers have already been constructed under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in the border blocks of Jammu.

“The government has also released an amount of Rs 1.50 crore under Capex Budget 2017-18 for construction of 100 Individual Bunkers in convergence mode on a pilot basis at Nowshera, Rajouri. The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir has also submitted a proposal for construction of 1,499 Community Type Bunkers costing Rs. 142.40 crore and 19,749 Individual Type Bunkers costing Rs. 503.41 crore in three border districts of Kashmir Division. The proposal stands submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India,” he added.


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