Shinde reviews security scenario along China, Pak borders

Shinde reviews security scenario along China, Pak borders

6 October 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde today held a high level review of security scenario in Ladakh region especially Indo-China border with top brass of civil and police administration besides Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), which has been manning vast stretch of the border. Mr Shinde, who was on a two days visit of Ladakh, reached Kargil this morning and flew to Leh in the afternoon. He reviewed security and development scenario in both the districts with the administration and representatives of Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh and Kargil. The civil administration of Leh hosted a dinner for Mr Shinde at Moon Land Guest House, which among others was attended by Minister for Finance and Ladakh Affairs Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, Director General of Police Ashok Prasad, LAHDC Leh Chief Executive Councilor Rigzin Spalbar, SSP Leh Vivek Gupta, Deputy Commissioner, Leh T Angchuk and other officials. The Union Home Minister was scheduled to visit Chushul forward area tomorrow to meet Army and ITBP Commanders and jawans manning the Line of Actual Control (LAC) along Sino-Indian border. Soon after his arrival in Leh, Mr Shinde visited the headquarters of ITBP in the mountain locked town and had a detailed interaction with top brass of the para-military forces, which has been manning major portion of LAC along Indo-China border in Leh along with Army. He was reported to have reviewed situation prevailing on the LAC with China including activities of People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China, sources said, adding the senior officers of the ITBP gave a detailed briefing to the Home Minister on the situation. Mr Shinde was reportedly apprised that the PLA jawans and Chinese people sometimes did indulge in transgressions as the LAC hasn't been demarcated but the issues were settled out most of the times on spot. The PLA had sometimes also objected to construction work near border areas of Ladakh. The ITBP officers gave a detailed briefing to the Union Home Minister on their preparedness along China border. Sources said Mr Shinde was schedule to personally visit forward area of Chushul along China border in Leh tomorrow morning to have a first hand information of the situation. He would interact with Army and ITBP officers and jawans on spot. He would fly to Punjab tomorrow afternoon. Sources said LAHDC Leh CEC Rigzin Spalbar also briefed the Union Home Minister of the situation prevailing along Indo-China border and difficulties faced by the people living close to the border areas. Mr Spalbar listed some measures, which he said the Union Government should take to help the people putting up along the border areas. Mr Shinde got a detailed briefing from Finance and Ladakh Affairs Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani, Chief Secretary Madhav Lal and DGP Ashok Prasad on the security scenario and development needs of Ladakh. At the dinner meeting, hosted by the civil administration at Leh tonight, Mr Shinde inter-acted with civil and police administration. The Union Government has been taking seriously the activities of the PLA and people of China living in forward areas in Ladakh and North East as there had been reports of increase in transgressions. India has been raising infrastructure along China border to match the neighbouring country. During past few weeks, Defence Minister AK Antony, Minister of State for Defence Dr M Pallam Raju and Army chief Gen Bikram Singh had undertaken extensive visits to Ladakh to have first hand account of situation prevailing on the China border. The foundation stone laid for Zojila tunnel on October 4 at Z Morh by Union Surface Transport Minister CP Joshi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to provide all weather connectivity to Ladakh is also being seen as a step to boost infrastructure to the hilly region. The tunnel would be constructed at a cost of Rs 2717 crore. In addition to review of security scenario, Mr Shinde also ascertained requirements on development front for both Leh and Kargil districts during his meeting with administration, Councilors and other delegations. In the morning the Union Home Minister visited some forward posts near the Line of Control (LoC) along Indo-Pak border and held meetings with the local administration in Kargil At Kargil, which hit the headlines in 1999 when Pakistani intruders occupied all heights, Mr Shinde, on his maiden visit, was received by Mr Rather, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) Qamar Ali Akhoon, an MLA from Kargil, Mr Wani, Madhav Lal, Mr Prasad, Principal Secretary Planning, BB Vyas, the CEC and Councilor of LAHDC, Kargil. Mr Shinde was briefed about the measures taken by the troops to prevent any infiltration from across the border. He was informed that since 1999, troops remained deployed on the LoC even during winter when the temperature goes down to minus 30 to minus 40 degree Celsius. It had taken more than three months to reoccupy the heights after pushing the intruders back across the LoC in 1999. The Union Home Minister was briefed by the Councilors of Kargil Hill Development Council and district administration officials about the developmental activities. Mr Shinde was informed about the difficulties the people of the region were facing during the winter, when the Srinagar-Leh Highway remained closed due to heavy snowfall. He was also given details of the overall law and order situation in the district. Chief Executive Councilor of LAHDC, Kargil, Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan presented a memorandum to Mr Shinde highlighting various issues and demands of Kargil, including starting of air service, work on the second phase of Zojjila tunnel from Baltal to Menamarg, recruitment of local youths in Central para-military forces and recruitments during the summer season keeping in view the inapproachability of Kargil candidates, helicopter Service for Zanskar and opening of Kargil-Skardu Road in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Addressing a meeting, the Union Home Minister appreciated the role and sacrifice of the people of Kargil. He assured them that the Government would always recognise these sacrifices at all levels. About the demand of extension of Kargil airport, Mr Shinde said the work will be completed within two years while work on Zojjila tunnel, which will help to keep the Srinagar-Leh highway open throughout the year, has started but there should be proper monitoring and the work on the second phase will be started soon and civil air service will be operated soon along with Army helicopter Service to Zanskar. About the recruitment of locals in Central forces, Mr Shinde said there would be a special recruitment in BSF. Deputy Commissioner, Kargil apprised the Minister of development scenario of Kargil and status of various Centrally Sponsored Schemes being executed in the district. He was informed that the Union Government has sanctioned Rs 270 crore for the construction of Solar Power Plant and hydro-electric projects in the district and these projects are under execution. For creating and upgrading basic infrastructure, Rs 50 crore have been provided under Special Task Force programme while under the Council Infrastructure Plan, Rs 40 crore have been given for various developmental projects which are under execution in the district. The meeting was briefed about the damage caused to property due to flash floods during previous year and the measures undertaken by the State Government for reconstruction of damaged structures. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Shinde said that UPA Government has accorded priority to these areas, which are backward and lag behind in the development scenario. He said the Government is aware of the problems of the people of far-flung backward pockets like Kargil and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is personally striving to provide better facilities to the people of such areas. He also praised the people of Kargil for their bravery and patriotism. He said that funds for completing of Z-Tunnel and other demands would be looked into and due attention would be paid in this behalf. The Minister said that Central Government has offered special concession in educational qualification and physical para-meters for the recruitment of youth of Kargil in para-military forces. A special drive will be launched in Kargil for recruitment, he added.