Jalandhar, October 4
Following National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders on stubble burning, renowned environmentalist Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal Wednesday said that instead of going strict against farmers, the Punjab government should either devise methods to pay compensation to the farmers or pick paddy straw themselves.Baba Seechewal said that the state government was trying to implement NGT orders in letter and spirit but it has failed to take action against erring industrial units spreading water pollution in the state. “We are not against stubble burning. But, the Punjab government is targeting the farmers, whereas many industrialists who were openly flouting Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) norms were giving two hoots to the laid down norms to save rivers from pollution”, he said.
The environmentalist was accompanied by farmers from over a dozen villages of Shahkot sub division during a meeting, where they lamented that the state government was going strict with them on stubble burning. “The marginal farmers are unable to purchase expensive machinery to dispose off stubble from the fields. But, instead of devising some method to facilitate us, the state government was targeting the farmers”, said Gurpal Singh Pala.Farmers also pointed out that burning effigies of Ravana was not counted as a reason of pollution but stubble burning has come under scanner. “What is the justification of pollution caused by massive crackers and fire works during festivals?” they questioned. However, the meeting also included farmers, who had been disposing off the stubble in the fields and said that their fertilizer expenses have reduced drastically. “It has been three years, since we stopped stubble burning. The stubble ploughed in the fields itself has increased the fertility of the soil”, said Joga Singh and Teja Singh, brother duo.Shahkot SDM Navneet Kaur Bal, who was also present during the meeting at ‘Nirmal Kutiya’ in Shahkot said that at present, it was difficult for the state government to provide any machinery to dispose off paddy straw. “But, any farmer found burning stubble would find his land records with red ink mark in the land record (Khasra Girdawari) service book. Rather, the farmers should take machinery on rent from other well off farmers to plough the paddy straw”, she said.It is pertinent to mention here that on Tuesday, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh had met Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh to demand Rs 2000 crore incentive to stop farmers from stubble burning. The CM has demanded Rs 100 per quintal compensation for farmers, which makes the total amount as Rs 2000 crore in the state
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