Farmers along India-Pakistan border seek compensation

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Amritsar, May 13 : Farmers affected by the fencing near the India-Pakistan border in Punjab have not received compensation for the land acquired by the government. Their land has been included in the "No Man's Land" which prevented them from farming anymore.

Farmers in Ajnala sector along the India-Pakistan border have claimed compensation for their agricultural land that was fenced without officially acquiring in 1991.

Most of the farmers in this region possess marginal holdings. And, the Border Security Force (BSF) personnel as well as the Pakistan Rangers are watch these farmers.

"As of now the BSF people are trying to help us a lot but due to frequent floods from River Ravi, all we can sow is only one crop. Regarding other problems if someone dies, the deceased family does not get compensation. Long back they paid rupees 2,500 but after that nothing was received. No government listens to our requests," said Gurbachan Singh, another farmer along the Indo-Pak border.

"One can buy an acre of land situated beyond fencing for less than rupees 50,000 whereas an acre of land situated before fencing, the price was over rupees 800,000," he added

Mohan Singh, one such farmer in Ajnala sector along the India-Pakistan border, lamented all these developments have curtailed his farming activities.

"We are facing many problems here, either this barb wire should be moved or they should compensate for it. We have a total of about 300 acres of lands on both side of the wire and we are able to grow only one crop in a year from our land and that too a lot gets wasted while harvesting due to strictness on this partition," said Mohan Singh.

Farmers say that they have repeatedly approached the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar with their grievances and as usual, red-tapism has taken its own time to redress them.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Commissioner of Amrtisar acknowledged the existing plight of the farmers.

"The first problem that the farmers have conveyed to us is that the Ravi River has eroded the land along the border and demanded some remedy. So, today, we have inspected and decided that we will put up four studs here to restrict the flow of the river to some extent," said K. S. Pannu, Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar.

About problems faced in farming practices, Pannu said: "The administration is aware about the problems of the border farmers and know that due to various restrictions, both during day and night, the restrictions on movement of workers and also the constraint on the type of crops which can be cultivated, the farmers are suffering heavily. We have requested the Central government that these farmers whose land is situated across the border fence need to be adequately compensated."

Amritsar and Tarn Taran Districts alone have approximately 170 kilometers long border with Pakistan.

Farmers are demanding that the land between the line indicating 'No Man's Land' and the fence should be acquired by the government and compensation of rupees 10,000 per acre be paid, as they are facing a lot of problems in tilling and cultivating their lands. y Ravinder Singh Robin

ANI

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