With no end to the growing rush at the Attari border for the high voltage retreat ceremony that witnesses a show of aggressive postures by the BSF troops and Pakistani Rangers, the new visitors’ gallery is expected to be complete within this year.
Though the Border Security Force (BSF) claimed that it has been informed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) that the gallery will be complete by May, a close look at the ongoing project indicates that it may take more time.
Talking to HT, a BSF official said, “In a recent meeting to review the construction, we were informed by the CPWD that the gallery will be complete by May. Work is going on in full swing and we are reviewing it regularly.”
Notably, the Rs 17 crore project of the ministry of home affairs (MHA) is already running behind time. The U-shaped gallery can accommodate around 15,000 people and is almost half complete. One side is complete and the frontal part is also done but one side of the project is still to be completed.
Also, the one side that is completed has been thrown open for the public but due to the half complete project till now, people do face hassles.
Earlier, the gallery was anticipated by the BSF to be complete by March 2017 but with a lot of work left, the project will be delayed.
Thousands of people reach the Attari border every evening to watch the retreat ceremony. As the attraction for the drill has gone high worldwide, the MHA decided to expand the gallery.
The MHA sanctioned the project in October 2013 and was to be completed in 21 months. But the project that had the delay finally kicked off in April 2015.
The gallery which was inaugurated in 1999 can accommodate about 5,000 people but the spectators who reach the border every evening are double that number.
In this project, not only space be added to accommodate more people, but also the border will see amenities such as a conference hall, a CCTV room, toilets, dining hall, guard room, detention room, dormitory and a kitchen. To heighten vigil, more hi-tech cameras will be installed in the entire area.