Body scanners to be installed at Jawahar Tunnel

Jammu, Feb 20 (IANS) Body scanners will soon be installed at Jawahar Tunnel, the main road link between Kashmir Valley and the rest of India, to prevent terrorists from carrying explosives via this route.

‘There are fresh inputs that terrorists are planning an assault on the tunnel,’ a police official told IANS.

The Jawahar Tunnel — located at about 200 km north of Jammu — on the Jammu-Srinagar highway is the lifeline of Jammu and Kashmir and has been on the terrorist radar since 1990.

There have been several attempts to damage the tunnel. A closure of the tunnel can block supplies to the valley and also severely affect ferrying of men and material for the Indian Army to Kashmir and beyond.

Official sources said that this step is being taken to prevent movement of terrorists carrying explosives through the tunnel from the Kashmir Valley to Jammu and vice versa.

The measure would be similar to what the Homeland Security of the US is planning to set up at American airports to scan passengers.

In 1991, the Border Roads Organisation had repaired and made the Banihal Pass functional in the eventuality of the tunnel suffering any damage. The Banihal Pass at a height of over 10,000 feet was used prior to the opening of the tunnel in 1957.

This is the first time that body scanners as also scanners that would detect explosives in trucks would be installed at Jawahar Tunnel.

The idea was proposed at the unified command meeting in Jammu Wednesday and was approved by Home Minister P. Chidambaram, the sources said.

(Binoo Joshi can be contacted at binoo.j@ians.in)

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