THE PUNJAB government has proposed to spend Rs 440 crore in the border belt of Punjab in the current fiscal. This was announced in the budget presented Tuesday. In an important decision for the Border Security Force (BSF) and farmers, Rs 50 crore was sanctioned under the River Management Activities, fully funded by the Centre as part of consolidated project for flood protection works to be executed along with India-Pak Border on Ravi River and its tributaries to check erosion of cultivatable land and more importantly for defence installations.
B L Singla, XEN, drainage (Punjab) said, “The Ravi River moves like a snake on the India-Pakistan border line. It enters and leave Indian territory at many points. I am not aware of the exact details. But it is a Rs 140 crore project. This project is a counter measure in response to the efforts made by Pakistan in past to push the flood water into Indian territory.”
A BSF officer said, “This project will definitely help us in strengthening our vigil on the border.” The Punjab government has sanctioned Rs 300 crore to address “hardships being faced by people in border areas.” However, the government did not divulge further details “Our government is formulating a special Border Area Infrastructure Development Programme with an outlay of Rs 300 crore in 2017-18, for uplift of this area which would inter-alia include creation of new social and industrial infrastructure,” said Punjab’s Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal in his speech.
This is in addition to annual Rs 85 crore allocation provided under a centrally sponsored scheme under a similar programme in which the state share is Rs 40 crore.
Farmers in the border belt, however, are not convinced about the effectiveness of the proposals.