Farmers to protest as admn fails to build fence at Gurdialpura sanctuary

  • Avtar singh, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Aug 03, 2016 16:13 IST
The Gurdialpura wildlife sanctuary near Samana near Patiala on Tuesday. (HT Photo )

Bir Gurdialpura, a wildlife sanctuary situated on the Patiala-Samana-Shatrana road has become a headache for farmers of over dozen nearby villages as wild animals often destroy their crops.

However, the district administration has failed to build the promised fence around the sanctuary.

Farmers of theses villages have been demanding a barbed fence around the sanctuary and the forest area, covering 620.53 hectares around Gurdialpura, Badshapur, three villages of Harchandpura, Nanhera, Buta Singh Wala, Sadhmajra, Mardhari, Araimajra and Sodhi Wala.

Shutrana MLA Vaninder Kaur Loomba had laid the foundation stone for the fencing on March 16 this year, but the work is still pending and farmers have been staging protests outside her residence and meeting the district officers. Farmers of the area along with residents of the nearby Haryana villages have formed a committee to lead the agitation for fencing.

Harbhajan Singh Buttar, convener of the committee, said, “Such animals cover 8 to 10 km area and destroy crops regularly even as we have been keeping night vigil.”

“Our delegation had met the MLA in April and we also staged protest on June 9 to press our demand for fencing the sanctuary and the forest area. One km boundary of sanctuary is yet to be fenced whereas the entire boundary of the forest is still untouched. Now we have decided to block the Samana-Badshapur road on August 5,” Buttar added.

Farmers have been affected by the animals straying out of the sanctuary. Also, a number of accidents take place on Samana-Badshapur road every year due to these animals.

“When a herd of 70 to 100 animals walks, five to six persons cannot stop them. These animals destroy our crops before our eyes and we are unable to act. They not only damage our fields, but also hit our children and livestock,” said Satnam Singh, a farmer from Gurdialpura village.

He said, “I have been cultivating 25-acre land and have to hire an employee at a monthly salary of `8,000 to `10,000 to protect my fields from these animals. But the animals still destroy crops spread over 2 cres on an average every year. The animals roam on roads and cause fatal accidents. We have repeatedly told the administration and MLAs to cover the boundaries with fenced wire, but to no avail.”

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner (DC) Ramvir has said funds have been released for the fencing and the work will start soon. “Farmers will have to wait for a short period and the fencing work will be started soon,” he said.

Divisional forest officer Ajit Kulkarni said, “The work of chain link fence will be started soon in Bir Gurdialpura and Bir Mujal. We have been preparing estimates and e-tendering will be announced soon; the work to cover all boundaries would be completed till March 31, 2017”.

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