Tuesday, Dec 02, 2003
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Jammu & Kashmir
By Luv Puri
But this time round, it is different from what used to be heard shelling and heavy fire from across the border before the ceasefire.Now it is the sound of the de-mining process, which the Army has accelerated, in the last few days.During Operation Parakram several acres of land close to the border was mined with anti-personnel and anti-tank ones. After the de-escalation of tensions with Pakistan, the de-mining operations started. While mining operations take place during the night, de-mining takes place during daytime.The ceasefire has given the Army an opportunity to expedite the task in a more secure environment. For instance, in the Abdal area of Suchetgarh sector on the International Border, 30 kms away from Jammu city, 50 mines were defused in a single day. The area is roaring with the deafening noise and the initial reaction of the local residents was that the ceasefire had ended and firing had resumed. Hoshair Singh, a resident, said "In the morning when I heard the noise I rushed indoors but later came to know that the mines were being defused. "Later on, when the villagers were confronted with the reality, it was celebration time as they could reclaim their lands now.Talking to The Hindu, a senior Army officer working in the area said, "de-mining operations have been speeded up after the ceasefire as there is no fire from across the border. Noise has increased as more than one mine was being blasted at the same time."
The areas where de-mining has picked up are Korotana, Raipur, Chanduchak, Khurad, Gulabgarh, Bega and Dera. The Army wants to hand over these fields to the farmers before sowing starts for the rabi crop.
The ceasefire has also helped the Army to intensify fencing work along the LoC in the Uri sector.
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