Farmers alongside border areas in Kashmir are losing their land to Military use. Ever since the Indian government revoked special status from Kashmir there has been increased military activity alongside border area.
Recently the Thompson Reuters Foundation reported that farmers in Kashmir drove off contractors and labourers and who came with construction materials in 6 loaded trucks. Locals complained that the military infrastructure took almost 50% of their agricultural land.
In addition, Border Area Development Programme (BADP) budget allocation has been decreasing every year. For FY 2017-18 budget allocation stood at 198.70 crores which went down to 84 Crores
Fertile Land Locked in Fences
According to Border Welfare Committee, for the past 15 years the BSF has acquired land for security purposes. The fertile land of Jammu and Kashmir is locked in between the borders of India and Pakistan.
The 900 km fence passes through villages inside India and leaves huge agricultural land on Pakistan’s side of fence. Land locked farmers in border area are under economic stress as they do not have any alternate occupation. Villagers said that their lands are taken away without prior notice or compensations.
Border Welfare Committee said that the farms on the other side of the fence are available but the checkpoint in the fence are opened for during certain ‘specific times a day’. Farmers have to walk very long distance to reach there and there is fear of cross-border fire. Further, cultivation of fertile land locked in the fences is quite difficult.
Farmers in border areas are provided less compensation for their acquired lands. The Border Welfare Committee president lost his eight acres land in 2004 when the fence was first built. Three months ago, his remaining land of 5 acres was acquired by the military for INR 30,00,000 lakh as compensation.
He also filed a petition with Jammu and Kashmir High court in 2018 on behalf of farmers affected in border areas. The petition demands for compensation for each crop season during which their land goes uncultivated. In addition, the petition demands the government to provide rent for their land on the Pakistan side of the fence.
According to farmers, the money paid does not justify the value of land. Since the removal of Article 370 the land value will go up due to increased number of buyers from all over India.
Wall of Defence
According to BSF, Indian government is looking forward to construct a wall of defence alongside the border. The project aims to construct a mud embankment of 32 feet height for security purpose.
In conclusion, the government authorities claim that the compensation will be provided eventually to farmers losing their land alongside border area.