Srinagar- A senior Border Security Force (BSF) officer in Kashmir has flagged lack of ''basic amenities'' such as healthcare, school education and mobile connectivity to the population living in forward areas along the India-Pakistan border saying government officials ''rarely'' visit these remote areas.
BSF Inspector General (IG) Raja Babu Singh has shot off a letter to Pandurang Pole, the divisional commissioner of Jammu and Kashmir based in Kashmir, after he recently finished his forward area tour of the Macchal sector in Kupwara district.
Singh said the locals complained to him about multiple issues being faced by them, such as non-availability of school teachers, lack of regular power supply, erratic or negligible mobile and internet connectivity and non-availability of a coaching centre to help students crack competitive exams such as National Defence Academy (NDA) and National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) among others.
The IG said he found that these forward areas and villages ''lack the most basic amenities'' even as the country is celebrating 75 years of Independence under the aegis of the central government themed 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.' He urged the commissioner to direct ''responsible'' government officers to take ''more care of border areas''.
Singh said field staff of various government departments ''do not prefer'' to stay in these areas and go back to Kupwara or adjoining Bandipora. They ''rarely'' cross Shamsabari mountain range, where a sizeable border population lives like in areas of Tangdhar bowl, Keran, Machhal and Gurez valley among others, he alleged.
The officer urged the commissioner to undertake some measures on a ''priority basis'' so that the border population can be helped.
The IG also informed the administration that he is supposed to travel to forward areas of the same sector next week to inaugurate some BSF-run medical camps for the population and if officials from the health, education, agriculture and veterinary care can join, it would help the border population in a ''big way''.
The BSF is deployed to secure the Line of Control (LoC) along Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir under the operational command of the Army. Its frontier headquarter is located here.
The IG has undertaken multiple such forward area tours in the border areas of Kashmir where he not only meets his troops and reviews security but also meets locals and launches welfare initiatives
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