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Samba tunnel detection fallout: UGS to be installed along IB
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NEW DELHI, Aug 12 (Agencies): The Union Home Ministry has decided to procure the Unattended Ground Sensors (UGS) that could be installed along the international border with Pakistan as an important line of defence.

The decision has been taken in the aftermath of discovery of a 400-foot-long tunnel at the India-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir.

The UGS can detect any movement above or under the ground and relay an alert in real time to the control room. The Border Security Force (BSF) had on August 9 issued an Expression of Interest (EoI) for procuring UGS. This device has been used extensively by the US to curb infiltration on its border with Mexico and also by Israel.

The US has also planted palm-sized concealed UGS devices all over Afghanistan, which would detect anyone moving closer to their troops and report the locations back to American control rooms.

The wireless UGS would act in aid of the fencing put up on the border with Pakistan and Bangladesh to stop infiltration, sources in the home ministry say. The technology, with each sensor costing about Rs50,000, is expensive but highly effective as each UGS can monitor an area of at least three kms and can last for almost two years on its battery once semi-buried in the ground.

The tiny spy detects any disturbance by man or machine through its 'magnetic, seismic and infra-red' sensors and can even click a picture of the possible intruder and relay it back to the control room.

With electrooptic and infrared imaging capability, UGS provides high-quality imagery, day or night. The sensor can endure adverse weather and temperatures ranging from -10° Celsius to 55° Celsius.

Costing at least Rs 50,000, this tiny spy can last two years on battery even in adverse climate.

Home Ministry officials say such UGS could have long back detected the tunnel unearthed in the Samba sector of Jammu last month which has been allegedly dug from the Pakistan side 100 meters into Indian territory to aid infiltrators.

A preliminary report submitted by the BSF to the Home Ministry says the tunnel was five feet high and three feet wide – which means that intruders could literally march through the tunnel.

The tunnel's origin seems to be in a highly-forested area across the border. Oxygen pipes were found clasped on the roof of the tunnel. Trolley marks were also found there, the report says.

BSF director general UK Bansal visited the spot and told the home ministry that 30 locations on the Indo-Pak border in Jammu frontier had been identified which needed a close watch in wake of the discovery of the tunnel. Sources in the army, meanwhile, blame the BSF for lack of surveillance and ineffective patrolling that led to such a huge tunnel being dug up.

However, a senior BSF officer said, “…But BSF right now has no technology to detect a tunnel like this which was dug at least 20-25 feet below the ground. UGS, when installed in a series along the border, would foil any such nefarious designs from Pakistan in future.”

In 2010, the Ministry of Defence had also issued a Request for Information (ROI), saying it was desirous of procuring a UGS intruder alarm system with an integrated computerised system to facilitate monitoring.

In the meanwhile, after the detection of underground tunnel in the Samba area of Jammu adjoining the International Border, the BSF started an intensive search for more underground tunnels in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab adjoining 1,970 km long international border. The search, started under the leadership of company commanders, will continue for a few days.

Three months ago, a tunnel was detected at Khakhian outpost adjoining Sriganganagar which was used for pushing 18 kg of heroin into Indian side.

According to BSF sources, after the detection of two tunnels in Jammu, the Union home ministry ordered an intensive search in border areas of Punjab, Gujarat and Rajasthan for more tunnels.

Inspector general, BSF, Rajasthan frontier has confirmed about the search. He said the personnel have searched the entire border area and so far no tunnels were found in Rajasthan frontier.

News Updated at : Monday, August 13, 2012
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