The parliamentary standing committee on home affairs on Friday assured people to consider their demands to ensure integrated development of the border area and increase employment opportunities.
The panel, here on a two-day visit, held a meeting with farmer organisations to ascertain the problems being faced by farmers of the border area. The committee that visited the border areas on Thursday, met state chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal, principal secretary home Jagpal Singh Sandhu, DGP Suresh Arora and BSF Punjab Frontier IG Anil Paliwal on Friday to look into the security situation along the border. The committee also visited the Bamial sector, which is supposed to have been used by terrorists to infiltrate.
Committee chairman and Rajya Sabha MP Pardip Bhattacharya, after holding separate deliberations with farmers, and senior officers of administration, police and BSF, said the committee would work on the suggestions given by people and submit a report to the Centre in two to three months.
Bhattacharya said the next meeting of the committee would be held in New Delhi, where they would discuss the issues pertaining to the border area, its farmers, general public, steps to be taken for infrastructure building, strengthening of security, road network and water system.
He said they had received a charter of demands from farmers, demanding an increase in compensation, jobs for their educated children besides basic amenities. He said these demands would be considered sympathetically to develop these areas on par with others.
Bhattacharya said they had discussed the law and order situation in border areas besides other problems being faced by residents.
The committee comprised various MPs from throughout the country, including Prem Singh Chandumajra. Chandumajra told the media that they discussed the problems being faced by farmers in cultivation beyond the barbed fencing. He said they had demanded an increase in Border Area Development Funds besides an increased compensation to farmers having land along the border.
He said welfare minister Gulzar Singh Ranike and chief parliamentary secretary Virsa Singh Valtoha also raised the issues of farmers before the committee. He said the two had urged the Centre to treat border areas as special zones by extending special allowances to teachers and doctors working there. He said they had demanded that the BSF presence in the area be increased.
Ranike demanded that the enhanced compensation be given to farmers besides creating a strong network of schools in remote areas. He said the Centre should recruit youth from border areas on priority.
The committee members visited the Golden Temple in the morning where they were given siropas.
Meanwhile, farmer organisations gave a memorandum to the committee citing problems being faced by the farmers having land between the fence and zero line. They also claimed that farmers had not been paid adequate compensation by the government for the land acquired to make way for the fence along the border.