The erection of fencing along the Indo-Pak border in Gurdaspur district has become a cause of tension between Border Security Force and the farmers whose lands fall on the border side of the proposed fencing.
Farmers from Salach, Bahadurpur, Mirzapur and Chauntra villages in Dorangla block in Gurdaspur district, whose 700 acres fall across the Ravi, forced the Border Security Force to stop the ongoing fencing work at Thakurpur village a few days ago.
After a request by the border farmers on November 2, 2012, deputy commissioner had written a letter to the principal secretary to the Punjab Government, urging him to install a pontoon bridge across the Ravi at a cost of `263.11 lakh to facilitate the BSF patrolling during the night, besides facilitating farmers to reach their lands without any intervention of the BSF authorities. However, the DC’s request fell on deaf ears and no provision was made so far.
The fencing is being installed 2.5 to 3 km inside from the Indo-Pak border and the 700 acres of cultivable land of Thakurpur village farmers fall across. After the fencing, the farmers will have to face difficulty in having access to their fields at will. The farmers are demanding the installation of fencing at a distance of 50-150 metre inside from the international border as recommended by the Kapur Commission.
When contacted, Gurdaspur BSF deputy inspector general Brig NK Mishra said: “Technically, the shifting of fencing close to the international border, as per the farmers’ demand, is not possible as the proposed site is flood prone. A flood in the Ravi can wash away the fencing and will create hurdles in the BSF functioning along the border.”
The BSF had always been cooperative to the border farmers, said Brig Mishra, and the BSF authorities would issue them passes for the visit their fields for farming.
Jamhoori Kisan Sabha Gurdaspur leader Darshan Singh told Hindustan Times on Monday: “The border farmers are unable to cultivate their lands and also not getting any compensation for it, which was`3,000 per acre per annum during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s regime and`10,000 per acre per annum two-three months ago.
He said the farmers of these villages under the banner of the Border Area Kisan Sangarsh Committee had staged a dharna outside the deputy commissioner's office on December 18 last.
He said the committee was likely to intensify its move against the BSF and the civil administration if their demands were not conceded soon.