J&K’s border dwellers find safe haven in underground bunkers

Underground bunkers built by the state government in the border district of Kathua have become a safe haven for villagers who often have to fear for their lives when there is firing from across the border.

Sanjeev Verma, the Divisional Commissioner Jammu, said 9,500 bunkers have so far been sanction in the Kathua, Samba and Jammu district. Out of these, 8,000 bunkers have been completed. The execution of the remaining bunkers is underway and will be completed soon.

According to Guru Ram, a resident of Harinagar, a village in Kathua, the constant unprecedented firing from the Pakistani side have put the lives of people at risk, and the bunkers built by the government has made them feel much safer.

“The international border is approximately 50 kilometres from our village and there is constant firing from the other side. As soon as we hear anything, we rush to the bunkers where it is much safer. We are extremely grateful to the government for this,” Ram told ANI.

“Earlier, when there was firing, we used to either rush to the school or stay inside our homes and wait for it to get over while fearing for our lives. My family and I have set up our home in the bunker itself so that we don’t have to go out at all. We feel safe here,” Hardeep Kumar, another resident of the village said.

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Kumar’s wife, Jyoti Devi, also feels much safer in the bunker as she believes that staying inside the bunker will keep their daughter safe, too.

“I am so grateful to the government for constructing this. We used to live in fear and were extremely helpless before. I used to fear for the life of my daughter as she likes to go outside and play. We have brought our beds, stove and all our utensils here so that we can live down here. It is the perfect size for a three-person like ours,” Devi told ANI.

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