Another election has come. Political leaders will again tour the order areas to seek votes and make promises, that will never be fulfilled. Promises have been made earlier also to improve the fate of border area residents. But, elections have come and gone, but the condition of the residents of border areas has not improved.
Successive governments since Independence have made tall claims that 'tremendous development' had taken place during their respective regimes, but the border areas in the district paint a contrary picture on the ground.
In 1988, a swollen Sutlej changed its course and split into two branches near Kasso, a Border Security Force (BSF) BoP (border outpost), to become one river again at Chandiwala village. Between the two branches of the river, a 5-mile route created an island, which was cut off from the mainland.
There are two secluded villages - aluwala and Nihalewala - near the cobra fencing along the India-Pakistan border and depict a picture of neglect. Inhabitants here only have a pontoon bridge erected by BSF as a link to the world.
However, the link is snapped from July to September every year during the rainy season and villagers have no option but to use a dilapidated boat to cross the river by putting their lives in danger. A few years ago, 14 people had died in a border village when their boat capsized in the Sutlej.
"In the modern era, when smart phones and latest gadgets are easily available to all, basic amenities like potable drinking water, streets, roads, medical or veterinary care, transportation and sanitary facilities, are a distant dream to us," lamented Mal Singh, 70, nambardar of Kaluwala.
"For villagers, education has no meaning due to lack of resources. In the absence of education, there is a little hope of improvement in their living standard. They still employ traditional means of agriculture as no agriculture expert has ever bothered to apprise them of new techniques," rued Piyara Singh, a former panchayat member.
Majority of the villagers live in mud houses with thatched roofs and for them 'government grant for a house' or a community centre is something unheard of, said Swarn Singh of Nihalewala.
"Lack of medical facilities always puts our lives in danger, especially during odd hours. Repeated pleas to the authorities concerned to this effect have fallen on deaf ears," said Kailash Rani, another villager.
Lack of amenities in the area also creates problems in get their sons and daughters married off, she said.
The other border villages, which are still crying for amenities include Tendiwala, Chandiwala, Matter, Usaria, Darveshe Kee and Rajjo Ke, etc.
"Politicians of all parties are seen only during elections, while their repeated promises of ensuring better living conditions to villagers never get materialised. Now, they will again come with a bucket of promises but the same will ever get materialised?," said Nishan Singh, a border resident.