India building dozens of integrated bunkers on the border with #China to help soldiers beat cold


#India building dozens of integrated bunkers on the border with #China to help soldiers beat cold

India is building dozens of bunkers that will house at least 120 troops each along the India-China border and keep them combat ready even at sub-zero temperatures, defence sources and a company engaged in infrastructure building along the border said.

During past wars with China and more recently with Pakistan, Indian soldiershave often suffered from extreme cold and harsh weather conditions in unfamiliar territories, prompting the MHA to commission these specialised insulated bunkers.

The bunkers along the frontline earlier were mostly wooden or concrete structures lined with sandbags. They offered little protection to the troops from the harsh climate or the enemy.

But the new bunkers will have the comfort of air-conditioning using solar and geo-thermal energy, sleeping quarters, and adequate space for more than 100 soldiers to withstand minus 30 Degrees Celsius
India shares a 3,488km-long disputed border with China — 1,597km in Eastern Ladakh, 545 km in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, 220 km in Sikkim, and 1,126km in Arunachal Pradesh.

The country has already constructed a permanent integrated COY (company) level building, of approximately 27,000 sq ft, at the border outpost of ITBP Lukung at Leh, as a pilot project, Army sources said.

“As there is no electricity in this high-altitude region of 15,000 ft from mean sea level, this building was designed using green features like solar thermal, solar photovoltaic and geothermal fresh air technology to raise the inside temperature to 22°C — almost a difference of 50 degrees from outside,” Rupen Patel, the CMD of Patel Engineering Ltd — the private company that took up this as a special pilot initiative for MHA said.

Patel said the fact that it was a green project made it “technically challenging” and added that the Indian government, after the success of this project, is looking to make similar structures along the LAC.

The ministry of home affairs (MHA) launched the pilot project in 2016 for ITBP jawans. National Project Construction Corporation Ltd (NPCC) took up the project and gave it to Patel Engineering Ltd and they finished building the bunkers in 2019.

NPCC has now come up with some design enhancement measures in consultation with DRDO experts and after concurrence of ITBP.

After these design enhancements are implemented successfully the Centre will look to construct similar such all-weather buildings for which the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) and other PSUs will compete.

According to the Army, DRDO has also designed sophisticated bunkers to deal with psychological fatigue under “Project Dhruv”.

These bunkers, the Army sources said, are environmental control buildings to help jawans reduce stress by relaxing there. The Army has also planned 3D-printed bunkers to provide protection to the troops along the LAC.

These bunkers, the sources said can be constructed quickly and can accommodate three people. They are used for watching the borders. These bunkers, according to some reports, will be able to withstand a 100-m direct hit from an MBT like T-90. They have undergone extensive trials in the western and eastern sectors.

The Army has also made others like bulletproof bunkers, underground survival bunkers and modular bunkers for specific uses along the border, the sources added.

The Indian government is now steadily building up its roads and infrastructure along the border to facilitate troops in the region.

The inauguration of the Sela Tunnel on March 9 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is just one such project. The country’s longest transportation tunnel on the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) opened by the PM last month was another such project. This, too, was completed by the same engineering company.

“With China creating an extensive network of roads and highways, including black-top roads, and railway lines along with bunkers and other advanced infrastructure along the border with India, the country too is prepared to meet any eventuality,” a defence official said.…

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