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LOC fence in poor shape

india Updated: Jan 11, 2010 18:11 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi
Hindustan Times
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The barbed wire fence along the Line of Control (LoC) deemed as a force multiplier and a critical component of the counter infiltration strategy is lying damaged and un-repaired at several places.

The fence, 674 kms, is shown repaired but in reality at some of the places the damaged portions are either not repaired at all, especially at the mountainous heights, or partially repaired, sources told Hindustan Times. Each metre of fence repair costs about Rs 4,000 to 5,000.

This mostly is the case in the snow- bound areas like Gulmarg, Gurez and Kupwara, where the fence is either temporarily repaired or left in damaged state.

The un-repaired length varies between 10 metres and 2 000 meters or more. In 2005 earthquake, at several places 25 km of the fence was damaged, particularly in northwest Kashmir.

Along the LoC, the dangers of infiltration have become larger this year since November 26, 2003 ceasefire - for there were 473 attempts in 2009, and 2000-2500 militants are waiting at 34 launching pads across the LoC to cross over to this side.

There have been three such attempts- two on the international border and one on the Line of Control since January 1, 2010. This trend could prove further dangerous, sources said.

The fence rises from the sands of Chicken Neck - a confluence of Chenab and Munawar Tawi rivers - 40 km north of Jammu, and rises upto the glacial Himalayan heights, passing through dense jungles, ravines, rocks, before entering the trans-Himalayan range in Ladakh region

The major damage took place in October 2005 when the earthquake damaged the fence in Kupwara, Baramulla and Poonch. Thereafter, it has been a recurring phenomenon.

For example, in the winter of early 2008, the fence got damaged at most of the places. More than 20 km of it got damaged in Gulmarg, and almost the same length in Gurez in the Valley, as also Sabjian in Poonch.

The Army denies that the damaged portions of the fence are not repaired.

Northern Command Chief Lt Gen B s Jaswal said, "What needs to be appreciated is that the type and extent of damage is not uniform across the length of the fence."

"The fence is repaired fully and as early as possible. There is requirement of a very large engineer effort, troops and civil labour too, is co-opted. There is a very thorough and institutionalised system of checks and verification in place at each level." Gen Jaswal said.

He maintained, " commanders conduct surprise visits through helicopters and it is impossible for anyone to play with the fence repair or indulge in false reporting."


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