Mattresses have been laid, temporary toilets set up, staff deployed and grocery procured. But even as people left border villages in large numbers on the third consecutive day, they are not moving to relief camps set up by the government in Amritsar district.
Reason: They don’t find the facilities at these camps up to the mark.
With the standard of living in rural areas improving in recent years, camps at Bhakna Kalan, Khasa and Chhehertta have found no takers till now.
People don’t want to go to camps and are moving to their relatives’ homes in safer areas instead, said Daljit Singh of Chak Alla Baksh village.
He said the government may have set up camps, but these lack facilities and safety. “Where are we supposed to keep our luggage and belongings at these camps?” he questioned. Although the district administration has stationed evacuation buses near the defence drain, 2 km from the fence, in Dhauke and other border villages, no one is boarding these.
Deputy commissioner Varun Roojam visited many such villages on Saturday to convince people to move to relief camps, but they were reluctant.
“Times have changed. People are well-off, residing in big houses. Nobody wants to live in the camps and we can’t force them to,” Roojam told HT. “We have made all arrangements for their stay and food. Five camps are operational in Amritsar district since Friday, but not a single person has reached there,” he said.
DEMAND FOR BETTER MOBILE CONNECTIVITY
As most women and children have left the villages, leaving behind male members to take care of the fields and livestock, the men want the administration to provide them food besides better mobile connectivity to stay in touch with their displaced families.
The DC said people who are staying back in villages have demanded better mobile range.“We have taken note of it and do keeping in mind the security concerns. We will soon provide landline phone facilities in border villages,” said Roojam.