Agricultural activities restored along the IB in the Hiranagar sector after 18 years

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DC Kathua, OP Bhagat with a BSF officer overseeing cultivation of land through fences in the border belt of the Hiranagar sector in the Kathua district on Tuesday. -Excelsior / Pardeep

Initially 1,600 kanals of land through the fences will be cultivated

Avtar Bhat
KATHUA, September 15: What can be called good news for the agricultural community living along the international border (IB) in the Jammu region of the Union territory, the civil administration with the help of the forces Border Security Guard began cultivating land through the fence on Zero Line on IB after an 18-year hiatus in the Kathua District today.
The activity has started in the villages of Manyari in the border belt of the Hiranagar sector of the district and out of 6,000 kanals of land through the fences of the district, 1,200 kanals will be used for cultivation in the first place, official sources said. at Excelsior.
Sources said the process was started at the direction of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, who particularly cultivated thousands of channels of fertile land through the IB fence, which even became barren after being left uncultivated for nearly of two decades, putting the frontier farmers. belt at a heavy loss.
Sources said that the LG, during its recent visit to the border districts, gave direction to the district administration of the affected districts to take measures to cultivate the land with the help of BSF by guaranteeing all facilities. , including the safety of farmers. However, the Kathua district administration has taken the lead in this regard and has organized meetings with representatives of the border belt public, including the presidents of the BDC, the Sarpanchs and Panchs of the region, officers of the BSF, the Ministry of Revenue and Agriculture, sources added.
The BSF has provided full security and all support to the farming community intending to cultivate their land through the fence on IB, sources said.
This morning, a team from the district administration led by the Kathua District Development Commissioner, OP Bhagat, visited the border area with other officers from Revenue, Department of Agriculture and BSF and in his presence. , four tractors were put into service to plow the land.
It should be remembered that cultivation of the land on the IB was stopped by the people in 2002 due to heavy bombing across the border and since then this fertile land known as the Rice Bowl of Jammu had become barren, giving rise to wild bushes and shrubs a heavy loss for the farmers of the border belt.
In Kathua district, 22 villages in Hiranagar sector were affected from Paharpur to Londi where farmers could not cultivate their land for the past 18 years while dozens of villages in the other two districts of Samba and Jammu up ‘at the Kanachak border belt in Jammu district where farmers were unable to cultivate their land during this period. But now, with the government’s proactive stance, farmers, especially in the Hiranagar belt, feel encouraged and have willingly come forward for farming activities through the zero line fence.
Sources said that the cultivation of wild bushes and grass due to not cultivating the land gave the Pakistani Rangers an advantage in pushing the infiltrators to this side and that with the cultivation of these lands their activities would be also controlled to a large extent. It will also help BSF curb undercover activity, the sources added.
Farmers in this belt are ready to sow Rabi seeds from Manyari village, sources said.
In addition, Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, OP Bhagat, BSF Commander Satyendra Giri, supervised the plowing of land on the IB zero line in the Hiranagar area.
Later, Bhagat told Excelsior that on the instructions of the lieutenant governor, Manoj Sinha, the district administration took the initiative with the support of BSF for the cultivation of Rabi crops through the fence. He said farmers in neighboring countries cultivated to the zero line. But farmers on this side had stopped cultivation due to cross-border fire from Pakistani Rangers in 2002. In the first phase, 1200 kanals of farmland will be cultivated and the process will continue to cultivate the 6000 kanals of land in the Kathua border belt. .
BSF Commander Satyendra Giri said the BSF is monitoring the border and will provide all assistance and support to farmers to cultivate their fields, including their security. “If Pakistani farmers cultivate their fields on the zero line, why can’t our farmers do it”? He asked.
Border farmers Karan Kumar, Ashok Kumar, Manohar Lal and Nanak Chand said they were very happy and appreciated the measures taken by the government and BSF as they go to cultivate their fields after 18 years. They said that over the past 18 years they have suffered huge losses and have not been able to produce crops as needed. Even the government also failed to provide them with the necessary compensation for the losses they had suffered. They impatiently awaited the cultivation of their fields.
They said that even a delegation had also met LG Manoj Sinha on this issue. They also asked the administration to cover all expenses, from plowing the fields to sowing seeds and fertilizers, etc. As they cannot bear any expense in such circumstances when there is uncertainty at the border and the Pakistani Rangers continue to fire.
The process will also be launched in other districts. District Development Commissioner Samba Rohit Khajuria said BSF is ready to provide all support and security to farmers and the administration is also doing its best to motivate people to cultivate their land through the fence. . He said efforts were underway in this regard from the government side so that cultivation could once again resume on land that was abandoned by farmers due to the bombings of around two decades ago.
Deputy Commissioner Jammu Sushma Chauhan said meetings are held from time to time by the district administration with BSF to develop a mechanism for cultivating land through the border belt fence. She said that this is very fertile and valuable land and the administration is discovering ways and means so that this land can be reused by farmers for agricultural purposes.

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