ISRO to use satellite imagery to find out tunnels on IB

ISRO to use satellite imagery to find out tunnels on IB

30 July 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The Border Security Force (BSF) would be approaching Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to measure length of the tunnel, constructed by Pakistan about 280 meters deep into Indian territory in forward village of Chechwal in Rajpura area along the International Border in Samba sector and find out more such tunnels on IB. The BSF would also be seeking help of seismic experts to trace route of the tunnel including its opening and exit points. Speaking to reporters after having a detailed inspection of the tunnel at Chechwal, which was spotted by a villager on Friday evening, IG BSF (Headquarters) SK Mishra, who flew-in here from New Delhi this morning for on spot assessment of the situation, directly blamed Pakistan for construction of the tunnel to facilitate infiltration of militants and smuggling of narcotics into Jammu and Kashmir from across the border. 'We have also sought the help of experts from Army and Geological Survey of India (GSI) to find out exact length, depth, exit and opening of the tunnel, which had definitely been dug from Pakistan side’’, Mr Mishra, who happened to be an IPS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre of 1985 batch and had served as DIG Jammu-Kathua range earlier, said. Presently, he was on deputation to BSF since June 2008. He said the seismic experts of GSI were also being requested to find out outing of the tunnel, which has not been detected so far. 'There could be a network of tunnels on the International Border. That is why the BSF has decided to approach the ISRO to find out length of the tunnel that has been exposed and other tunnels, if any, using satellite imagery’’, Mr Mishra said. Clearly blaming Pakistan for construction of the tunnel for facilitating infiltration of militants and smuggle narcotics, Mr Mishra said a 'very strong protest’’ was being lodged with Pakistan shortly on their mischief. 'There is a Pakistan hand in the tunnel, which appeared to have been constructed from across the IB into Indian territory under the cover of firing’’, the IG BSF said. Mr Mishra, who led a team from Delhi for inspection of the site in Chechwal border hamlet close to three-tier fencing along International Border in Samba sector, said militants might have dug the tunnel for infiltration at the behest of Pakistan. 'The purpose (of digging a tunnel into India from Pakistan) is known to everyone - to infiltrate and conduct smuggling from there,' the IG BSF said. The tunnel was detected on July 27 after an area caved-in in a straight line at two-three places due to rains near the border fencing near Chillayari Border Out Post (BoP) of BSF along the International Border in Samba sector. The tunnel with a dimension of 3x3 feet is about 280 meters into Indian side from the IB, where pillars of demarcation stand. It is dug at a depth of about 20 feet below the ground and also had a provision for oxygen and air supply through a 2-inch pipe, Mr Mishra said, adding, 'We are confirming whether the tunnel was made operational or opened up in this side.' 'We are looking into all aspects. The tunnel is nearly 300 meters up to border fencing and the forward village,' he said. Mr Mishra said a 'strong protest note with all available evidence' would be lodged with Pakistan. Replying to a question as to whether there was any intelligence failure, Mr Mishra said it was not so. 'You cannot say intelligence failure.... What is happening on that side is extremely difficult to tell,' he said. The IG BSF said, 'We have observed movement of people ... They have fired at our people. Earlier such incidents have taken place, but for the last one month there was no such firing.' Meanwhile, official sources today confirmed that the tunnel appeared to have been constructed from Pakistani Rangers’ Lambriyal forward post to Chillayari post of the BSF and then into the village Chechwal. They said the experts would take Bomb Disposal Squad inside the tunnel to ensure that IEDs or mines hadn’t been planted inside. There was every possibility that the Rangers or the militants might have planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or mines inside the tunnel, they added. The BSF continued digging at various places today but it had to move with very caution in view of rains with the fears that land might cave in around the tunnel. The BSF and police maintained cordon around entire area of the tunnel to avert any untoward movement. Sources said the Rangers across Chechwal border village have maintained mysterious silence after detection of the tunnel. They have restricted their movement in the posts only.