Punjabi farmers call for fewer restrictions to cultivate in border areas

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Dhanoye Kalan, Attari Sector (Indo-Pak Border) Aug. 25 (ANI): The restrictions over movement along the Indo-Pak border have been causing problems to the local farmers.

Farmers living in border areas in Punjab have their land spread across the fence, and movement is prohibited at night for security reasons.

The restrictions cause hardship in tending the farms, particularly irrigating them at night.

The farmers are aware that night-long curfew alongside the 345-mile zig-zag fence along the Indo-Pak border in Punjab is meant to strengthen security, they want the government to find a solution to the problems they are facing.

Most villagers along the Indo-Pak border area depend on farming for their livelihood. Paddy cultivation requires lots of care. The farmers cannot water their fields at night because of daily night curfew along the Indo-Pak border.

The curfew has been imposed to keep terrorists and smugglers at bay. Unfortunately, it has also caused problems for the farmers. They have to obtain identity cards to obtain access to their land.

Farmers complain that the curfew imposed from dusk to dawn also makes it difficult to carry on farming activities.

Shiv Singh, a farmer of Dhanoye Kalan Village points out that while there was no curfew during the day, after 6 in the evening till 6 in the morning their movements are restricted up to 500 metres alongside the barbed wire.

Electricity was available only at night to irrigate the farms but due to curfew, they were unable to irrigate their farms.

He pointed out that villages around Dhanoye have more than 2,000 acres of farming land and more than 1000 acres of the land is beyond the fence. The farmers at the border demand that government should decrease the area of curfew.

"We are allowed to harvest only wheat and paddy that needs more care all the time. He question that when the farmers of the other side (Pakistan) could cultivate their land any time why not us?

And whenever tension increases at the border, the villagers have to shift their belongings to safer places. Those who decide to stay put are deprived of the basic facilities like medical services, education. They are cut off from the rest of India.

Villagers said that many a times they have conveyed their difficulties to the concerned officials but nothing has been done to address their concerns.

Talking to ANI, Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, Khan Singh Pannu pointed out that the restrictions have been imposed on the orders of the Ministry of Defence . He said that he would convey the concern of the border farmers to the authorities." By Ravinder Singh Robin ANI)

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