Residents of border villages, who moved to relief camps or to their relatives’ places away from the border after orders of evacuation came six days ago, are now returning home.
While the education department has already ordered to reopen schools in border areas, it is also time for farmers to start cotton picking and paddy harvesting.
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In Fazilka and Ferozepur, some 5,000 villagers were staying in relief camps while over 30,000 went to their relatives’ places along with truckloads of household items.
Malkiet Singh, of Gajniwala village in Ferozepur district, said, “My village is about 800 metres away from border. Though a few people from my village went to relief camps, I did not. My house is on the outer side and I am much closer to fence. Every day I could see farmers on Pakistan side working in their fields while there was panic on our side and people were vacating their villages. It is good that schools have now opened and parents are coming back.”
Lalo Bai, of Mohar Khewa village close to the border in Fazilka district, said, “I heaved a sigh of relief when border schools reopened. It is is an indirect signal that we can move to our houses. I could barely sleep in a relief camp.”
Meanwhile, in Ferozepur, not more than 500 people were in relief camps, and over 15,000 were at their relatives’ places. People, it is learnt, vacated all the camps today.
In Fazilka, meanwhile, nearly 4,500 villagers were staying in 31 different relief camps, out of which nearly 2,500 have gone back.
DC, Fazilka, Isha Kalia said, “Our camps are functional, and we have not asked anyone to go back. Since schools have reopened, a few parents want to go back. So do some few workers for harvesting and cotton picking. Still, nearly 2,000 people are staying in different camps where facilities will continue till further orders.”
Those who have stayed back in relief camps are mostly senior citizens or parents with toddlers, according to information.