For the first time, India is constructing “permanent vertical bunkers” of concrete to station BSF troops right at the strategically Sir Creek and ‘Harami Nalla’ marshy area along the India-Pakistan International Border in Gujarat, official sources said.
The union Home ministry has sanctioned a Rs 50 crore fund for the construction of eight multi-storeyed bunkers cum observation posts in this area along the Bhuj sector in the view of the “constant infiltration of Pakistani fishermen and fishing boats in the area.”
The Border Security Force (BSF) apprehended 22 Pakistani fishermen and seized 79 fishing boats as well as heroin worth Rs 250 crore and charas worth Rs 2.49 crore from this region of Gujarat in 2022, according to official data.
The Central Public Work Department (CPWD) will build five of these concrete buildings along the ‘harami nalla’ area, which spans 900 sq km, while three pylon-shaped towers are being built in the Sir Creek area, a 4050 sq km marshy area between India and Pakistan.
Radars and surveillance equipment can be mounted on the top floor of each of the 42-foot-tall “vertical bunkers” to keep an eye on the area surrounding sinuous estuaries. According to the officials, the remaining two floors will have room for about 15 armed BSF members and their equipment.
According to officials; these bunkers are being erected in the Lakhpat Wari Bet, Dafa bet and Samudra bet on the eastern side of the creek area, well within Indian territory.
The move to build the bunker came after then BSF director general (DG), Pankaj Kumar Singh, during a tour of Union Minister Amit Shah to the Gujarat border in April last year, along with senior officers made a presentation that the creek area and the marshy water body between India and Pakistan were prone to infiltration and the BSF security apparatus was located way behind.
The three bunkers will be the first permanent structures in an area prone to tidal waves every four hours of the day. According to the officials, anything made of metal or any other item corrodes due to the high salt content in the area.
Sir Creek is a 98-kilometer-long disputed territory shared by India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands, which open up into the Arabian Sea. It separates Gujarat’s Kutch region from Pakistan’s Sindh province. The two countries have been holding talks to try to resolve the border dispute.