After 24 years farmers living in the border villages of Jammu and Kashmir are cultivating their land following the peaceful atmosphere in the region.
Due to the efforts of the administration and the Border Security Force (BSF), farmers can now plough fields right up to the zero line once again. For over three decades, farmers did not have the right to gain employment due to Pakistan-perpetrated political unrest on the border. The economic activities had come to a standstill.
The BSF has instilled confidence in the farmers by helping them every step of the way. They have sworn to guard them and their cattle while on the field.
The population in the border areas has had to face real-time fear of ceasefire violations and being annexed or worse wiped out, as Pakistan did during 1947 tribal raids.
Previous governments in Jammu and Kashmir also did not seek to develop these areas thinking they were ticking bombs anyway.
Under the National Food Security Mission, farmers are being provided with seeds.
The inclusive strategy of ‘SabkaSaath, SabkaVikas’ under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi has focused on equal prosperity across the Union Territory. Border areas will receive just as much attention as mainland Jammu and Kashmir.
The new concept of border tourism has altered the landscape of border areas.
According to officials, far-flung areas are being accessed by tourists. They are finally being given their due importance. People in Keran, Gurez, Karnah, Machil, and Bangus saw hope in 2022 when tourists started pouring in. The administration is building systems to alleviate poverty and backwardness in these areas.
Tourists have a keen interest in experiencing life in border areas. People in 2022 converted a portion of their houses to Homestays.
In the Gurez valley, the Homestay owners talked about their experience with the administration admitting that interaction with a variety of people outside J&K has helped them learn about the world outside of their own.
Officials informed that several new hiking tracks such as Shonglipathri-TosaMaidan are being finalized for tourism while building ground for preserving the biodiversity of the meadows. TosaMaidan, like many other villages that are a part of the 75 Tourist Villages Network to be developed across J&K recently celebrated its annual festival which attracts adventure sports lovers, bikers, and night campers nationally as well as internationally.
These are the first winters after decades that border residents have not been cut off from the rest of J-K. Gurez would even remain open for tourists in the winter months, an event that has never happened before.
Ministry of Home Affairs is implementing the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in areas located within 10 Kilometres of the border. These areas have some unique infrastructure requirements that BADP will bring to light, officials added.
There are several schemes in the process to promote the migration of people to these places to encourage economic activity. Border dwellers are now entitled to reservation in government jobs. Border Area Development Programme (BADP) will bridge the gaps in the socio-economic infrastructure and improve the security issues on the border.
As per an official, in June 2022 the Ministry for Road and Transport started their work on improving the road connectivity here. In J&K Rs 65,000 crore worth of roads are being built and the border roads are an integral part of the plan. Roads are the lifeline of an economy, and with them will arrive better health facilities, internet connectivity, education, employment opportunities, etc.
Recently Uri is gaining traction for a revolutionary project underway – a new school near the ‘Zero Line’.
Situated at the LOC, its residents have never led a stable life. Most have to go to far-off towns to be able to provide two square meals a day. Since the earthquake in 2005, a makeshift school has been in operation at the mercy of the political environment and geographical climate for 17 years. The BADP under SmridhiSeemaYojana is rebuilding the school, cementing the future of J-K.
The Chautali School is situated at zero line across the fence. The original building has been demolished and a new one is being raised at the cost of Rs 50 lakh. Two new school buildings Sahoora and Lalmer (border areas) will also be constructed at the expense of Rs 25 lakhs each. The schools will have the state-of-art infrastructure and will house all classes from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Borderland denotes power and the integration of this area will reduce the alienation of its people from the mainland. For far too long they have been living in uncertainty. Today people are showing faith in the government’s machinery. With normalcy returning they feel alive again. Today the acres of empty lands which used to be out-of-bound zones have converted to cricket, volleyball, football, and kho-kho grounds. (ANI)