Friday, August 23, 2013

Swollen Satluj inundates border fencing, BSF posts in Ferozepur, Fazilka

FEROZEPUR: Water knows no geographic boundaries. This has been proved right with water overflowing from gushing Sutlej spreading across miles of land across the barbed fencing, erected at the international border in Ferozepur and Fazilka districts.

Flooding of border villages, situated along the Satluj embankment area, has damaged barbed fencing along the Indo-Pak border at several points. In certain pockets, floodwaters made the Indo-Pak zero line disappear in the Fazilka district, sources said.

Though the wire fencing has not suffered much damage in a large area along the border, sources said there were certain pockets, where it had suffered irrevocable damage and would need replacement. Nearly 10 border observation posts (BOPs) along the border have been surrounded by floodwaters while their bases have been submerged. These included BOPs at Pattan Wali, Bachiter, GG 3, GG2, MF Wala, Bahadur Ke and Samaske in Fazilka sector and Tapu, New Mohammadiwala and New Gazniwala in Ferozepur sector, they said.

Besides, nearly 80% area around the barbed wire fencing has been submerged and partially damaged in the two districts. At some places, nearly 12-feet high barbed fencing has been fully submerged. "Floodwaters have affected barbed fencing in a 30-km stretch at the border falling in Fazilka sector while in Ferozepur sector, nearly 10 km of fencing has been inundated," sources said.

In Fazilka, Pakistani authorities have shut the gates of Sulemanki head works resulting in backflow of Sutlej waters near Sadiqi joint check post. This has led to submerging of the meeting hall on the Pakistani side, where flag meetings between officials of the two nations are held.

Sources said that in order to thwart any intrusion bid through the damaged fencing and swollen Sutlej river, the BSF has deployed its water wing to conduct round-the-clock patrolling in the river, running along the border, in the two districts. The wing comprises motorized fiber boats, loaded with floodlight system, weapons and other necessary equipment needed for patrolling.

Meanwhile, the headquarters of BSF, Punjab frontier, has increased the number of personnel in these border districts. "Boat nakas have been set up at strategic points. More temporary observation posts have also been set up to check intrusion as the water has spread to some fields along the international border," a BSF official said, requesting anonymity.

R P S Jaswal, DIG and senior PRO, Punjab Frontier, said the water wing had been doing an arduous but commendable job, safeguarding the border. In times of floods, boat nakas cannot be put up but boat patrolling continues, he said, adding that the water wing has been trained specifically to meet all types of challenges during floods.

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