Rajasthan: As smog intensifies, security needs beefing up near border towns

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Rajasthan’s Sriganganagar district of Rajasthan has much in common with Punjab. They share a border, have similar language and have a population largely made up of farmers. This is because they share water from the rivers of Punjab that flows in through the India Gandhi Canal.

But at present they are sharing a smog cover that is hampering visibility and security in the border areas. Sriganganagar has a border with Pakistan and the fields are very close to the fencing on the international border. A smog cover has enveloped the fields reducing the visibility; especially after nightfall.

It is an established fact that crossovers from Pakistan are more common during the winter months when a thick envelope of fog descends. BSF Patrolling is intensified along the Barmer and Jaisalmer borders during the winter weeks.

Now with a seasonal fog, and the hue and cry that is being raised about it, is only serving to inform the friendly neighbour that there is another ‘good time’ to cross over. What is necessary is that if smog is inevitable, the adequate security measures need to be taken at the earliest.

Rajasthan is also among the states that had been served NGT notices over burning of crop. But the fact of the matter is that the practice (of burning crop remains) is less prevalent in Rajasthan; where the average farmer is much less prosperous as compared to Punjab. It is more of a practice in Sriganganagar.

What the farmers in other districts, even adjoining Hanumangarh, do is also a lesson on environment management; they bury the remains of their crops and let it turn into organic manure.

Farmers have maintained that they have traditionally been burning crop remains, but they too need to understand, that the traditional mode of farming did not have the number and quantum of crops that enhanced irrigation systems have developed. Multifold increase in agriculture is on the basis of new techniques; so goes without saying that the tradition of crop burning will also have to be replaced. The farmers cannot cite tradition and take the easy way out.

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