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Standing crop destroyed in Bajaur for ‘security reasons’

Standing crop destroyed in Bajaur for ‘security reasons’

KHAR: The political administration of Bajaur Agency destroyed standing maize crop along the road in Mamond tehsil owing to ‘security reasons’, residents told Dawn on Wednesday.

They said that maize crop on vast tracts of land along the road between Umary and Lahgari area of the region was destroyed during the action, launched by the authorities few days ago.

The people showed concern over the action, saying they were not been taken into confidence by the administration about it. “We are not opposing the step because we know that the action was necessary to ensure peace in the area. Had the administration informed us timely we would not have cultivated the crop,” they added.

The local people said that destruction of maize crop caused finical losses to farmers as they didn’t expect any compensation from the administration. “We are worried that we will face financial problems if administration doesn’t compensation us,” they said. They demanded of the administration to compensate the farmers for destruction of their maize crop.

An official of the local administration, when contacted, said that the step was taken in the larger interest of the area. It was necessary to ensure safe movement of forces on the roads and control the threat of militancy in the region, he added.

The official said that the crop was destroyed after expiry of the deadline set to the farmers. He said that growing maize crop along the main road within 200 metres had been banned in the area for the last several years owing security reasons.

The official said that ban on growing crop along roads in Mamond area would remain intact till further decision. “I don’t think that ban on cultivation of maize crop along the roads will be lifted immediately because militants use maize crop as a shelter,” he added.

The official rejected the demand of farmer about compensation and said that it was a part of collective responsibility. However, he said that the administration would contact senior officials of Fata Secretariat in that regard.

“We will try our best to compensate the farmers as they have been facing financial problems for the past several years,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015

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