Two years no relief post vote: Border-area Punjab farmers | India News

FEROZEPUR: In Punjab, where the political parties have promised the moon to the voters during their Lok Sabha campaigns, the state’s farmers who till the restricted zone between the security fence and the zero line along Pakistan await their promised annual inconvenience compensation of Rs 10,000 an acre for the last two years. The state and the central govt are supposed to bear the cost of this compensation equally, but the central govt releases this money only for the next year after it gets a utilisation certificate from the state for the earlier released amount.Sukhjinder Singh, a villager from Rajamohtam in Ferozepur district, whose family tills more than 2 acres in the dangerous, sandwiched zone, hasn’t received his inconvenience compensation for 2022 and 2023. He said: “There are many like me even in the nearby villages. We last got this compensation in 2022, which was after 4 years, and it took a series of protests.”

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His family harvested wheat a few weeks ago on the restricted side, while on this side, it grows chilli. An 11 foot-wide village strip on the Indian side is the patrolling zone of the Border Security Force (BSF). The crops in the restricted zone can’t be above 4 feet for security reasons. At Mamdot block’s border-side village Hazara Singh Wala, former panchayat secretary Sandeep Kumar said: “This why those farmers can’t grow sugarcane, and must keep to wheat, paddy, and chilli, and bear with a limited produce.”
The state and the central govt have been sitting on their land-acquisition request for decades. Fazilka and Ferozepur Border Area Sangharsh Committee district president RameshVadhera (67) said: “The land along the zero line in Ferozepur is worth between Rs 10 and 12 lakh an acre, but for two years, there has been no compensation for tilling it.” A senior official in the Ferozepur deputy commissioner’s office said on the condition of anonymity that: “We had released the inconvenience compensation for 2022 to the tehsildars concerned. Many farmers in the Guru Har Sahai tehsil have received it and the process is near completion in Ferozepur. This district has 3,000 acres beyond the barbedwire fence, and the office has not received the compensation money for 2023, so far.”

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