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Nearly 500 hectares of land available for cultivation along IB in  Samba

Jammu: Nearly 500 hectares of cultivable land lies unutilised between the border fencing and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district, officials said on Sunday.

The administration is encouraging border farmers to cultivate the fields in the forward areas, Deputy Commissioner, Samba, Anuradha Gupta said, adding the practice was abandoned amid threats of cross-border shelling by Pakistan.

But India and Pakistan agreed to a renewed ceasefire in February along the Line of Control and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, encouraging border farmers to cultivate their land beyond the border fencing, she said.

Gupta said the district administration and Border Security Force (BSF) authorities would extend full cooperation to the farmers, address their concerns and also support them in doing routine farming beyond the border fence.

The administration organised a visit to the Suchetgarh border in Jammu on Saturday to encourage Samba farmers to follow their counterparts here, she said.

Border area farmers of Samba have resolved to start cultivation on the fields beyond the IB fence after the visit to the Suchetgarh sector, where the BSF has facilitated resumption of agricultural activities on fields across the fence, the officials said.

The tour was organised by the district administration of Samba in collaboration with the BSF.

Seventy-three farmers, along with panchayat members from Rajpura, Samba and Ramgarh, had a detailed interaction with their counterparts at Suchetgarh and agriculture officers on cultivable crops and practices that can be taken up along the IB, they said.

The officials said the uncultivated land across the fence can be sown with the help of the BSF, and the farmers can be encouraged to take up agricultural activities.

“We stopped cultivation due to the fear of Pakistani firing. Now with the government’s encouragement, farmers here (Suchetgarh) are cultivating their land beyond the fence, and we can also resume cultivation under BSF security cover,” a visiting farmer said.


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