Govt approves ₹8,606 crore for border infrastructure, management

The Centre has approved ₹8,606 crore for 60 projects being implemented under the umbrella scheme of Border Infrastructure and Management (BIM) to meet special development needs of people living in those areas, officials said Wednesday.

The projects are being implemented in 17 states having the international borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

Highlights of the scheme:

The projects are being implemented in 17 states having the international borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. The projects are implemented in 111 border districts to meet special development needs of the border population with a focus on people living within 50 km of the international border.

The schemes include construction of roads, schools, primary health centers, promotion of rural tourism, border tourism, promotion of sports activities, cleanliness mission, protection of heritage sites, the supply of drinking water, community centers, connectivity, drainage, to enable sustainable living in border areas.

Construction of helipads in remote and inaccessible hilly areas which do not have road connectivity, skill development training to farmers for the use of the modern and scientific technique in farming, organic farming are some of the other areas where the projects are being implemented.

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The Union Home Ministry has formed a study group to examine the problems being faced by the people residing near the International Border and the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of regular ceasefire violations by Pakistan. The group will meet people living in the border areas of Jammu & Kashmir, security forces deployed there, district administration officials and local public representatives and submit its report within two months.

Special Secretary in the Home Ministry, Rina Mitra will head the team. The principal secretary (Home) in the Jammu & Kashmir Government, the divisional commissioner of Jammu and the divisional commissioner of Srinagar are members while the joint secretary (J&K) in the Home Ministry is the member-secretary of the group.

The study group will prepare a detailed report of the issues being faced by the public living near IB and LOC and submit its recommendations on the remedial action that needs to be taken to address these issues, said the order. India shares a 3,323 km long border with Pakistan of which 221 km of the IB and 740 km of the LOC fall in Jammu & Kashmir.

There has been a sharp increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan in recent times. Until August 1, there were 285 violations by Pakistani forces while in 2016, the number was 228 for the entire year, according to Army figures. There were 83 ceasefire violations, one BAT (Border Action Team of Pakistan Army) attack and two infiltration bids from the Pakistani side in June in which 4 people, including 3 jawans, were killed and 12 injured. Eleven people, including 9 soldiers, were killed and 18 injured in violations in July.

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Coast Guard commissions 2 high-speed interceptor boats

The Indian Coast Guard has commissioned two high-speed interceptor boats fitted with a 12.7 mm machine gun at the Dighi Port in Mumbai, in a move that will boost security along the Maharashtra coastline.

The C-433 and C-434 boats – built by L&T Shipbuilding in Chennai – are 27.42 metres long and have a displacement of 136 tons each.

The vessels were designed for high-speed interception, close coast patrol, low-intensity maritime operations, search and rescue and maritime surveillance,

The commissioning of the boats will strengthen the security umbrella over the 720-km-long Maharashtra coastline. It will also help in patrolling and prevent illicit activities such as infiltration, smuggling and illegal fishing.

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