Changes are on anvil in the Centre-sponsored Border Area Development Programme (BADP) for coordinated and better development of the border areas in Punjab and in other parts of the country.
The information was given by a central government team of the Border Management Cell under the ministry of home affairs. The team was led by joint secretary Hitesh Kumar Makwana and comprised deputy secretary Amit Nirmal and others.
They gave this information during a meeting with Punjab officials from the border districts of Amritsar and Gurdaspur.
Amritsar deputy commissioner Ravi Bhagat and his Gurdaspur counterpart Abhinav Trikha also took part in the meeting.
Briefing the Punjab officials, Makwana said the government had decided to make the BADP more effective so that the residents of border areas could derive more benefits from it. He pointed out the programme was launched in 1986 and since then a lot had been changed in the border areas of the country.
“The government thought that as a result of these changes, the BADP needs to be made for effective and welfare oriented,” Makwana informed the meeting.
The Amritsar DC gave a brief of the developmental schemes initiated in the border areas of Attari, Ajnala and Chogwana. Likewise, Trikha gave details of the border areas in his district.
Makwana pointed out that around 60% of the funds meant for development in border areas were spent on roads. This expenditure needs to be cut down and the money should be diverted for welfare measures that directly affect the residents, he added.
He laid stress on improving the condition of schools in the border villages and providing quality education. He said the central government would also be laying stress on creating self-employment ventures for the youth of the border villages.
He also called upon the Punjab officials to popularise the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ in the border areas. He said now stress would also be laid on the construction of toilets for the poor in the border belt.
Under BADP, the government will be involving the Border Security Force (BSF) for improving sports infrastructure in the border areas. This is being done to encourage youngsters to take to sporting activities.
“We will be giving funds to the BSF for this venture. The BSF will provide the coaches for the training to the youth in different sporting disciplines,” Makwana added.