Farmers along India-Pakistan border seek compensation for land acquired in 1947

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Daokae (Indo Pak Border) Sep. 11, 2009 (ANI): Farmers in villages along the India-Pakistan border in Attari Sector have been demanding compensation for land acquired from them along the Zero Line along the border since 1947.

A 14 feet wide stretch was prepared later to enable the Border Security Force personnel to patrol for security purposes. It was prepared on local farmers' land for which these farmers say that they have yet to be duly compensated by the government, though they admit having been paid for the land used for fencing in 1990s.

Hundreds of acres of land falls in the Zero line area. It's a stretch of about 14 feet wide throughout the border. The Border Security Force (BSF) uses this stretch for patrolling purpose and also to thwart any intruder from Pakistani side.

Punjab shares a 553-kilometre border with Pakistan. Practically, there are two borderlines between India and Pakistan one is "the Zero Line" that divides the two countries and another one is the Barbed fencing erected during the 1990s to keep terrorists and smugglers at bay.

When India fenced the Punjab frontier, it had also divided the land of the farmers that fell on the both sides of the barbed fence.

However, residents of the border villages, along sides of the barbed wire, lament even after approaching the authorities several times, their appeals seeking due compensation could not garner anyone's attention.

Kashmir Singh, a farmer of the Daokae village, says: "Villagers have nearly 850 acres of land beyond fencing and a part of the land was acquired by the government just after the partition for the making the stretch for patrolling. But nothing was paid to them for the land by the government."

Villagers residing in the villages in Attari sector including Daokae, Baropal, Nashta, Mahawa, Raja Tal, Noshehra Dhalla, Havanyian have the same demand.

Master Harbhajn Singh of Noshera Dhala said, "About 20 acres of every border village land beyond fencing were acquired for the "Zero Line" and we were not get even a single penny from the government. It is our long pending demand which we want government should look into."

Kawel Singh another farmer of Noshera Dhala, who claims to own about 50 acres of land beyond fencing, said: " We have already being facing many difficulties to access our land beyond fencing for the cultivation. Moreover, the government seems to reluctant to pay us the price of our land they acquired for the Zero Line.

Meanwhile, senior officials of the Border Security Force say the demand has been forwarded to the Central Government.

According to Deputy Inspector General (DIG), Border Security Force Mohammad Aquil, the surveys are on relating to the revenue records of the land that was requisitioned from the farmers for the patch of road all along the Zero Line on the India-Pakistan border.

'The officials of various departments are on the job and the compensations would be paid to the aggrieved farmers at the earliest", said Mohammad Aquil.

Line of Control runs over 700 kilometres of forested hills and inhospitable terrain. At some places, it splits villages in half and bisects mountains. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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