The village dwellers along the 10 kilometers of Indo-Pak international border in Punjab, have been left listless after the government asked them to vacate the area, in wake of the recent surgical strikes by India on terror launch pads across LoC. The villagers are hesitant to leave behind their homes and agricultural produce to the vagaries of war.
“How we can leave behind our standing crops, costly animals and move away? Our crops are ready. We were planning to sell our hard earned yield in the grain market to earn money so that we can feed our children and arrange good education for them,” Jasbir Singh, a resident of village Khemkaran falling in the Tarn Taran border district, said.
The residents rue that successive governments have asked them to vacate the place whenever cross-border altercations escalate, but they fail to provide any concrete compensation to them.
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“Hundreds of people living on the Indo-Pak border are shifted in temporary camps in such situations. Our standing crops are crushed by Army tanks, and the compensation paid by the government is meager,” Harinder Singh, resident of Tarn Taran said.
MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha said that he visited many border villages at Khemkaran, Bhikiwind, Khalra, Thehkalan, Machikey, Mehndipur and Kalas, stating that the people were listless there.
He said the inhabitants of border villages like Rasoolpur, Bhania, Doekey, Bheropal, Hardo Rattan,Dhariwal Udhar, Dhaoney, Rajatal, Mahawa,Bachiwnd, Shahura, Kiralgarh, Chak Allahbaksh, Kakar Rania, Ajnala and Ramdas falling in Amritsar district have already begun evacuation on mass level and are taking shelter in gurdwaras and inns.
“They all are in utter confusion. Each member of the family returned back in order to check on their standing crops and buffalos,” Valtoha said.
Many border residents ehoed the ‘indifference’ by the government on their pitiable condition.
“We make the ends meet on the basis of the income we earn from our six-acre land situated on Indo-Pak border. We are unable to leave behind the standing crops and house hold goods. We suffered huge losses during the India-Pak 2001- 2002 standoff. We were not compensated by any of the authorities. Thus, we can not leave behind our belongings this time,” Sohan Singh, a resident of village Mehndipur said.