Ajnala Sector (Indo-Pak Border), May 12, : Border farmers, who possess agricultural land beyond the fencing that bifurcates India and Pakistan, are demanding compensation from the Government.
Most farmers in the area are so poor but still refuse to part with their small to moderate stretches of land. To farm these lands, they depend on the Border Security Force (BSF) for protection.
A majority of these farmers opine that if the1947 division of the Indian subcontinent had not occurred, they would have been well-off.
This farming community claims that it has suffered both financially and emotionally on account of the tension along the Indo-Pak border.
Mohan Singh, a border farmer in the Ajnala sector owns nearly 20 acres of land beyond the fencing, and he says it is very difficult to meet daily expenses.
"We are able to cultivate only one crop in a year from our land situated beyond the fencing, whereas other farmers are getting three crops in a year", claims Mohan Singh.
These farmers are demanding that the Government should pay them compensation for the fenced off agricultural land.
Amritsar and Tarn Taran Districts alone have about 170-kilometre long border with Pakistan. The farmers are demanding that either the land between the O line and the fence should also be acquired by the Government and pay them the price or they should be given compensation of Rs. 10,000 per acre since they are facing a lot of problems in cultivating it.
Gurbachan Singh, another border farmer, said that there is a huge difference in the price of the lands on either side of the fencing. One can buy an acre of land situated beyond the fencing for a mere Rs. 50,000 whereas the land on other side can fetch over eight lakh rupees.
When Ravi River flooded their fields they were even deprived of a single crop from their fields, Gurbachan added.
Amritsar Deputy Commissioner K. S. Pannu told ANI that the administration was aware about the border farmers' problems.
"Due to various restrictions like the movement of workers during day and night and the constraint on the type of crops which can be cultivated, the farmers are suffering heavily and are not getting their due economic returns. And, we have briefed the Central Government that these farmers need to be adequately compensated," said Pannu. By Ravinder Singh RobinANI)