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Indian de-mines route to Muzaffarabad for bus service

March 06, 2005 14:42 IST
Last Updated: March 06, 2005 15:24 IST

Cranking up repair and reconstruction on the Indo-Pak road to peace, the army has cleared minefields along the Uri-Muzaffarabad stretch in Jammu and Kashmir [Images] for the historic bus service between Srinagar [Images] and Muzaffarabad, scheduled for launch on April 7.

The army has cleared minefields till the last Indian post, called 'Command Post', on the Uri-Muzaffarabad road stretch of nearly 6 km on the Indian side, Jammu and Kashmir Roads and Buildings Minister Gulam Ahmed Mir told PTI.

Mir, who reviewed the work on the stretch along with a special 'technical team of engineers' of the Roads and Buildings Department at Uri on Saturday, said all works would be completed before the scheduled launch of the bus service.

The army began the de-mining operations close to the Line of Control [Images] about a month ago, he said.

Mines were placed along the stretch during 'Operation Parakram' after the December 13, 2001 attack on Parliament.

The Pakistani army had also mined the road to Muzaffarabad under its control.

Meanwhile, media reports said Pakistan will issue application forms for special permits to travel by the bus serviceĀ from next week.

The forms will be made available at the deputy commissioner's office in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, local daily Dawn quoted officials in Islamabad [Images] as saying. It, however, did not specify which deputy commissioner's office.

India has announced that the forms will be available at the regional passport office in Srinagar, which has been officially classified as the designated authority to issue permits from the Indian side. Pakistan, however, has not officially announced its designated authority.

Islamabad and New Delhi [Images] have agreed to facilitate speedy processing of travel permits and set a timeline of two weeks for security clearance of those wanting to travel by the bus, the paper said.

The bus will be a 30-seater and a separate coach carrying the media team to cover the re-opening of the historic route is likely to be run with the inaugural bus. In view of security concerns, a police van will tail the bus, the daily said.

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