Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) is going to conduct an intensive field research covering more than 1,800 villages of Punjab which share international border with Pakistan. The study would find out the reasons behind the villages not being able to develop on various parameters. The team of research scholars from GNDU would travel to the villages and personally interact with the villagers.
The scholars are being supervised by a team of experts headed by Dr Jagrup Singh, professor and chairperson, department of political science. The team includes Dr Anjali Mehra, assistant professor, School of Social Sciences, and Dr Harpreet Kaur, former assistant professor at the department of political science, GNDU and now working at the University of California, Berkeley, US.
Dr Jagrup Singh, while speaking to HT, said, "We would be starting this three-year-long research in a few days and submit the detailed data to the University Grants Commission (UGC). The research is being sponsored by the UGC and they have given a grant of more than `10 lakh to the university for conducting research and making the detailed project report-'Life at the Cutting Edge: Political Sociology of the People living in the Border Belt of Punjab.'
The project would be undertaken in six districts of Punjab-Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur and Fazilka and would be divided into three parts with 20 villages each, said the research head.
The thrust of the study is to make empirical explanations about the marginalisation and underdevelopment of the people living in the border areas of Punjab which consist of about fourteen percent of the total area of the state.
"There are around 1,838 villages in Punjab that share an international border with Pakistan and the entire area of the belt falls in the range of sixteen kilometres from the zero line. We would be dividing this research into three parts. In the first phase, the villages on zero line would be studied, villages in the 0-9 km range would be studied in the second phase and the third phase would cover villages in 9-16 km range. There is a huge disparity between these three ranges too as the villages which fall in 9-16 km category are more developed than the villages on the zero line," Dr Jagrup Singh added.
Singh said they have conducted similar kind of research earlier also in which the plight of farmers whose land falls beyond the border fence was highlighted.
In this research, Singh said the focus would be on experiences of people living near the border, real accounts of the country's partition in 1947, demographic structures and problems of health and educational institutions would be studied.
"We would use a detailed questionnaire to be filled by people of the area and the researchers," he said.