During the recent heightened tensions between India and Pakistan, many border area farmers in Rajasthan & Punjab face the heat. As their farms are located between international border and the fenced line. Many could not visit their farms for spraying or watering the crops in past one week. As it’s the season of delicate phase of wheat, potatoes, vegetables which are in their growth phase, farmers are in the midst of fear. They fully support the intent of the government and the bravery of our armed forces and openly extend their support for the armed forces but fear that it would be convenient for them if they are allowed for few hours to water the plants or do some spraying. Some of them inform that their loss of productivity will be nothing before the sacrifices of armed force and support any move by the government. Many farmers in Punjab and Rajasthan requested the government to provide them some financial assistance for the productivity loss and reduction in crop yield due to this crisis.
A barbed fence close to the international border demarcates the boundary for civilians and those who own land close to the border are issued passes to visit their fields. Usually, farmers are allowed to work between 9 am and 5 pm but no one has been allowed to cross in the last one week. Farming is the primary occupation of people along most of the villages located close to the 553-km international border in Punjab, and in some parts the agricultural fields merge with the border.
Many feel their farm equipment and tools may be stolen or misused by farmers from the Pakistani side as they are unattended. As the season is very prone to pest infestation this time, especially the yellow rust. They feel that they should be allowed for few hours so that they can spray the fields and come back as there is not much firing or activity in their area. Some farmer leaders say that if they are adequately compensated, will have no problem as the entire hard work they have done will go vane if this situation continues for few more days and their crops might die due to non-availability of water or heavy pest infestation.
As many say war does not bring cheer to anyone, but here farmers are even ready to sacrifice their produce and hard-work for the sake of our armed forces by asking for a minimum compensation. This shows how a common man in India stands behind the nation, when our political class and parties do too much questioning on government actions at times when it is not needed.