Farmers farm land across border fence, feel ignored

Tribune News Service

Manmeet Singh Gill

Amritsar, May 21

Hundreds of farmers farming across the border fence along the border with Pakistan feel they are not included in the long list of promises made by politicians during the campaign. There is.

Owners of these fields, which are geographically located between the barbed wire and the zero line, are subject to strict safety inspections by the BSF, restrictions on working hours, damage to crops by wild animals from the Pakistani side, and 4-ft. They must face restrictions on the cultivation of crops that exceed these limits. hiccup.

We know very well that politicians can promise anything to win elections, but farmers still feel that such promises help highlight their cause.

News reports often mention farmers visiting officials and holding dharnas to get funds released.

In Amritsar district, 3,801 acres of agricultural land are sandwiched between a barbed wire fence and the Zero Line, the actual border with Pakistan. Although farmers were able to receive compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre through court intervention, the money rarely reaches them in time.

A total of 21,600 acres of land in 220 villages in six districts – Amritsar, Tarun Taran, Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Ferozepur and Fazilka – was fenced with barbed wire by the government in the days of the Sikh rebellion in the late 1980s. was left behind on the Pakistani side.

Arjan Singh from Hoshiarnagar said, “Usually, farmers are allowed to work in the fields between 10 am and 4 pm on a working day. But sometimes, the time gets wasted due to additional security checks and winter fogs when farmers have even less hours to work.” He added that even labourers are not ready to work in fields beyond the fence as they can earn more by working for long hours in these areas.

Even the machinery farmers need is closely inspected, meaning they have to spend more time at security gates.

Another farmer Ranjit Singh of Bangara village in Tarn Taran district said, “Of the total 13 acres I cultivate, eight acres are on the other side of the fence. But the crop yield of the five acres on this side is more than the eight acres beyond the fence.” He added that connecting tube wells or other improvements on the land beyond the fence is not possible as various permissions are required.

When asked why the issues of these farmers were not acknowledged by politicians so far, Ratan Singh Randhawa of the Border Area Sangharsh Committee said, “Recently in the city, the cost of land has gone down to 1 million yen per marla. Residents of upscale areas of Rupee staged a protest to highlight the lack of basic amenities.If politicians don’t take these wealthy people seriously, why this side of the border fence? Do they care about the poor farmers who own virtually nothing?”

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