Despite the ongoing tension at the Indo-Pak border, the farmers in the state’s border-belt with Pakistan would be allowed to harvest their produce at “every cost”, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said on Sunday.
“Despite the ongoing tension at Indo-Pak border, the agriculturists will be allowed to harvest their produce at every cost. The crops are as dear to the farmers as their children and they could not bear this loss at any cost,” Badal said, while speaking on the sidelines of his visit to border areas of Amritsar and Tarn Taran districts. He said in view of the current situation, he had taken up the issue with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who had directed the Border Security Force to allow the farmers of the border region to harvest their crop.
Likewise, he said the Centre has also allowed the farmers, having their land across the barbed fence inside the Indian territory, to reap and lift their crop. Punjab shares 553-km border with Pakistan and six districts in the state lie close to the International Border. People in nearly 1,000 villages falling within the 10-km radius of the International Border were asked to be evacuated following the advisory of the Central government in view of an apprehension of retaliation from Pakistani side after Indian Army carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC).
A number of villagers in some districts had refused to leave their homes on the grounds that they need to tend to their crops and cattle and also look after their properties. The Chief Minister said the government would soon release the pending compensation of farmers having land across the border fence. He said the government has always extended a helping hand to the farmers of the border region and every effort would be made to bail them out of the present crisis.
Badal said he has directed the Food and Civil Supply department to depute special officers to ensure procurement and lifting of grains from the border region falling within the 10-km radius of the Indo-Pak border.
“Keeping in view the escalating tension at the border the state government is duty-bound to lift each and every single grain of the farmers,” he said. Recalling the “great service” rendered by border residents of the state to the country, Badal urged the Central government to start a special recruitment drive for the youth of the border areas to enable them to join army and para military forces.