Thursday, December 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Troops on alert along Rajasthan border
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Sriganganagar, December 19
Small detachments of the Army have reportedly been seen moving towards the border in the district even as the Railways have cancelled the leave of its personnel and directed them to be ready for any eventuality.

According to eyewitnesses, troops with heavy equipment have been seen occupying positions in certain pockets in the forward areas of Anupgarh, Gharsana and Srikaranpur sectors of this district. Movement was also witnessed in Sadhuwali cantonment where convoys moved out after 5 pm. Similarly, there have been unconfirmed reports of movement in the forward areas near the Khajuwala sector in Bikaner.

Officials were tightlipped and refused to comment on the reasons behind the sudden movement.

Sources said the Army, too, had cancelled the leave of its personnel and those on leave have been asked to join their units immediately. Similar is the case with personnel of the Railways. In fact, personnel at Suratgarh have received a telegram from the higher authorities that the rail track in their area should be guarded round the clock.

The officials have reportedly been asked to keep two good trains in reserve at the station for immediate use of the Army. One train with heavy equipment is likely to move to the Anupgarh late tonight, the sources revealed.

The Air Force base at Suratgarh, too, has been declared out of bounds for unauthorised personnel from today.

Besides this, traffic on the Jammu Jaisalmer section, too, is likely to be disrupted in the next few days to facilitate the movement of troops to forward areas. Traffic was stopped on this section during the Kargil conflict too, the sources revealed.

Milap Chand Dandia adds from Jaipur: Rajasthan is getting ready to meet any possible challenge from the other side of the border.

There are reports of secret military movements inside Pakistan bordering Rajasthan having being stepped up. In case a war breaks out between the two countries Rajasthan will be amongst the first targets.

The Indo-Pak border runs over a 1,000-km stretch in Rajasthan. In the previous wars Rajasthan was the most active area and cities like Jodhpur had its bitter taste.

As part of its preparations to meet any enemy threat, Jodhpur had its first exercise of a complete blackout after a period of 30 years on Tuesday. Preparedness of other emergency services is also reported to have been checked during this period.

The reports indicate that there is a considerable army build-up in Pakistan near the Ganganagar border. The Army on our side has, therefore, started preparing for any challenge.

Besides, the Army, intelligence agencies have also been alerted and the BSF has beefed up its surveillance activity along the border.

Vigilance has been stepped up in Jaipur and major installations like the state secretariat, Vidhan Sabha, high court, Civil Lines, airport, etc have been put on high surveillance. Armed commandos have been posted at these places.

In the Civil Lines area where the Governor, Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition and other VVIPs reside, bunkers are being constructed for the armed commando.Back

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