Jammu, May 14: Fragile peace and threat of hostility are constantly affecting the normal life of the people living in the extreme border villages of Samba and Kathua.
The threat of hostility has resulted in a gradual rise in unemployment and the number of over-aged unmarried youth.
The poor financial situation has further worsened the conditions in border villages and people have migrated to safer areas to pursue education and search for employment.
“The families who have a financially good background shift from the border villages and settle there. Their shifting from their native border villages is often for seeking better education for their children and peaceful life,” said the President of Border Kissan Union, Ramgarh-Samba, Mohan Singh Bhatti. Bhatti also lives in the extreme border village of Ramgarh.
Bhatti said that “Life in extreme border villages is worse. The tail-end villages do not get canal water for irrigation purposes, and unscheduled power cuts have become a routine for them although the charges for the usage of electricity continue to be recovered by the concerned departments.” “We have bore wells as a source of drinking water,” he said.
While the development and the sense of insecurity always remains an issue, he said the youth in these extreme border villages face difficulty to find their life partner.
“You will find three to four over aged youth in some of the border villages. The source of employment is very less, and mostly the people are dependent upon the land for agricultural activities,” he said.
Border Welfare Committee, Kathua and Samba President, Bharat Bushan Sharma, also Sarpanch of Panchayat Bobiya, said that in the extreme border villages life is tough.
Sharma said that “The young boys often face difficulty to get their soul-mates for being the residents of extreme border villagers. No parents would want to give the hand of their daughters in marriage to a youth who lives on the Indo-Pak border where the situation can turn unpredictable. However, the situation is different in villages away from the border villages.”
He also said that the youth in border villages also lack employment opportunities. “Unmarried youth and unemployment have become an issue in the border villages,” he added while complaining that the “tap water, health facilities, poor public transport facilities, and banking facilities are among the issues which have affected the normal life of the villagers.”
He said that they have bore wells in the border villages as no tap water is provided to them.
“The bore-wells water is also unsafe,” he claimed. He said that a health center in their area is working from an unsafe building that was constructed in the 90s. This health center provides health care to people of six villages.
“The building has no doors or windows. The employees in the health center are working by putting their lives at risk,” he added. He said that the Border Area Development Programme (BADP) was launched in 1993 to develop border villages, but the programme has failed to meet the set target.
He claimed that the facilities were provided to the villages away from the border, but the deserving “extreme border villages” have poor basic amenities.