Naushera residents living in abject poverty seek rehabilitation

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Naushera (Jammu and Kashmir), Feb 21 (ANI): Migrants from Jammu and Kashmir's Naushera region continue to spend their lives in makeshift tents even today.

The continuous exchange of fire by both countries across the border in Jammu and Kashmir in 2000, forced over 1800 families to flee their villages.

While most have returned to their homes, there are families who are still awaiting succor from the authorities.

"We have been living in these tents for ten years now. We are waiting for the government to help us even today. In place of my house, there is a fencing today. Our houses had collapsed and we have not been able to build them till date. The government had said that we would receive Rs 25, 000 to build our house, we have not received that as well," said Shyam, a resident who migrated to Rajouri.

Vilma Devi, another migrant, said the situation is one of complete helplessness.

" I have been living in this tent for over a decade now. I feel helpless. What do I do? I just wish the government looks into this aspect, no one has come forward to help us," said Devi.

However, the authorities claim that most families have returned and only threeamilies whose houses got damaged during the cross border firing in 2000 are living in tents.

They also say that efforts are being made to ensure their safety and security in camps.

"In December 2000, after the shelling by Pakistan, these families migrated to Rajouri and have been living in these tents ever since. They were here till 2005 after which, all of them returned to their homes. Only three such families are still living in these tents as their houses collapsed during the shelling. We are trying to rehabilitate them," said Robin Singh Mehta, Additional District Commissioner.

Naushera Dhallan village once had a population of 2,000 people, most of whom were engaged in farming.

India's borders with Pakistan are spread across four states-Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. By Pradeep Sharma (ANI)

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