Army Braces Up To Repair Fencing Before Winter

29 September 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Army is running against time but has exuded confidence that it would be able to repair fencing and Company Out Posts (COPs) damaged in patches in vast portion of Kupwara sector in the Kashmir Valley while work on restoration of fencing in Pallanwalla area of Akhnoor sector is on war footing and will be completed in the next few days. The BSF was also giving final touches to installation of new fencing and repair work on its Border Out Posts (BOPs) along the International Border (IB) in Jammu sector. The fencing was washed away at some places and damaged in other areas along the IB. Official sources told the Excelsior that Army didn't face any major problem in restoration of washed away or damaged fencing on the Line of Control (LoC) in Pallanwalla area of Akhnoor sector but re-installation of fencing in Kupwara sector was an uphill task as it had to be completed well before the onset of winter when the passes will become snow bound. 'Though the task is difficult, we will execute it well in the time i.e. before the start of snowfall by the end of October or start of November to prevent infiltration of militants at any cost,' sources said, adding that with Army now free from large scale rescue and relief operations, which it conducted across entire Kashmir Valley, it has taken up the task of installing new fencing at washed away area and repair the damaged patches on the LoC in entire Kupwara sector and some other places. Sources said the fencing in Kupwara sector has been washed away in patches in vast areas. However, this was not the case in Pallanwalla area of Akhnoor sector, where 10 kilometers long fencing was washed away in one stretch. The installation of new fencing in washed away portions and repair in damaged areas in Pallanwalla is on and will be completed very soon, sources said, adding that completion of fencing work in Kupwara sector will take some time as damage done there was 'massive'. 'Nevertheless, we are confident that entire fencing work in Kupwara sector will also be completed before the onset of winter and start of snowfall in higher reaches, which sometimes start as early as end of October or start of November,' sources said, adding the work has been taken on war footing and Army was confident of completing it before snowfall. Sources said exact fencing washed away or damaged in recent floods and rains in Kupwara sector can't be assessed as it was damaged in patches. However, they admitted that the damage was extensive. 'As soon as the fencing was damaged, Army had intensified foot patrolling in all areas of Kupwara and Akhnoor sectors to ensure that the militants didn't manage to take advantage to infiltrate into the Indian territory. Some infiltration attempts were made by the militants in Kupwara sector but they were foiled,' sources said. The Company Out Posts of the Army damaged in Kupwara sector were also being repaired or established afresh, they added. On the BSF front, sources said it has mostly repaired or installed new fencing in the patches washed away or damage along the International Border from Hiranagar to Akhnoor sector in the recent heavy floods and rains. Meanwhile, the Centre has approved a proposal worth Rs 21 crore to reconstruct and replace the fence and BSF border posts along Indo-Pak International Border which were damaged due to recent floods in Jammu and Kashmir. The sanction was granted by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh after he was apprised of the 'large scale damage' to these assets along the International Border (IB) along this frontier during his recent visit to the forces' headquarters in New Delhi, sources said. 'The sanction worth Rs 21 crore has been accorded to the Border Security Force. The force has already begun putting in place the damaged systems and resurrecting defence mechanism along this frontier,' officials said. At a number of places along this frontier, they said, the fencing and border posts along the riverine areas had been affected by the flood waters which had wreaked one the worst natural disasters in the State. The BSF, during the Home Minister's visit to its headquarters, had briefed Singh that there has been extensive damage to over 30 of its border posts but 'backup' locations have been made by the force to check infiltration along this frontier. Officials said the Home Minister took the issue as an important subject and hence the sanctions have come promptly. Singh had then said that 'the Government will leave no stone unturned to safeguard our borders and address all important issues related to border security.' He had told the BSF brass that 'security is the first and foremost requirement for development and therefore our borders should always be safe and secure' as he urged them to ensure no let down in security despite the problems that have erupted after the floods.