Erratic power supply, boars add to border farmers’ woes - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Erratic power supply, boars add to border farmers’ woes

Erratic power supply, boars add to border farmers’ woes

Anirudh Gupta

Ferozepur, November 25

Already reeling under immense hardships, the “ordeal” of border farmers seems unending. Problems of one or the other kind continue to hound them.

From the issues related to road access to their fields to the regulations unleashed by the BSF authorities and the everlasting fear of war due to volatile relations with Pakistan, the border farmers are always living on the edge.

Adding to their woes, erratic power supply and frequent attack of wild boars, who damage standing crops across the barbed wire fencing, are keeping the farmers people on tenterhooks. Karan Singh Dhaliwal, secretary, Border Kisan Morcha, said farmers were not getting regular supply as per requirement. The farmers have also urged SE of PSPCL to provide regular electricity supply to their land across the barbed wire along the Indo- Pak border from 10:30 am to 4 pm every day.

Dhaliwal said at present the supply was on alternate days from 8 am to 6 pm which was not sufficient, adding that even their water pumps often get damaged due to short-circuit which was causing financial loss to them.

“A majority of farmers have meagre land holdings, so installing automatic starters is not a viable option for them,” he added. Jagdish Lal of Panjeke said sometimes the supply was provided on the day when the border gates were closed and they were not allowed to cross over to till their land. SE, PSPCL, said the supply was being provided as per orders from the head office in Patiala, adding that he had forwarded the request of farmers to the higher authorities.

Over and above, the attacks by wild boars from Pakistan side are another matter of concern. Dhaliwal said the land along the Sutlej across the barbed wire fencing provides a perfect hideout to boars which are pushed to the Indian side at night by Pakistani farmers across the border. Harbhajan Singh, a border farmer, said due to security restrictions, farmers were not allowed to stay back in their fields after evening due to which the fields were left unattended during night. “The problem assumes acute proportions as Pakistani nationals do not kill these wild boars due to religious considerations and rather drive them towards Indian side,” said Harbhajan.

He said earlier after years of dithering, the state government had decided to allow the shooting of wild animals that have been causing damage to crops for which shooting permits were issued by the Wildlife Department. However, due to proximity to border and security concerns, even the shooting was not allowed in this area. In order to combat this menace, some farmers even ring their fields with ‘live wire’ for the night. However, the BSF troops get them removed. Another farmer Gurjant Singh rued that the state government had not granted inconvenience allowance of Rs 10,000 per acre to farmers in DT Mal enclave which was given to farmers at other locations. Later, the border farmers also met the DFO (Wildlife), Ferozepur, to press upon the need to ensure protection of their crop from wild boars.

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