Unable to till land, border farmers demand relocation of fencing - ECAS Punjab

Unable to till land, border farmers demand relocation of fencing

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Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, September 13

Over 30 years ago, barbed wire fencing was installed along the Pakistan border in the district to keep a check on the escalating insurgency. However, as a fall-out of the move, thousands of acres of fertile agricultural land was "sandwiched" between this fencing and the International Border (IB).

Though it plugged insurgency and drug peddling to some extent, the fencing proved counterproductive for farmers, who lost both the access and control over their fields. Since then, these farmers have been demanding "inconvenience allowance". However, little has been done by the successive governments to ameliorate their hardships and compensate them for their loss.

Sources said though the fencing was supposed to be erected around 50 to 150 metre from the zero line, at many places it was placed up to 2- 3.5 km from the IB due to topographical restraints. As a result, farmers are not able to till their land properly. Also, the stringent conditions, including restricted working hours, unavailability of canal water, ban on the height of the crops, frisking at the security gates and enhanced input costs, like rental of combines, added to the woes of the farmers.


Proposal in abeyance

The Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier planned to relocate the fencing towards the Zero Lne in certain areas so that fertile agricultural land could be retrieved. However, the plan did not materialise. Brig (retd) Surinder Mehta, DIG, BSF, said he would look into the matter to ascertain if any such proposal was in the pipeline.



from The Tribune https://ift.tt/2RnLgft

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